This is a public beta version of the coursebook, subject to on-going modification

It is expected the coursebook will be complete and finalized by July 2024

It will then also be available for download in pdf format

Click or tap here for pdf of this beta version

© 2024 Ian Jackson

Revived Cornish on the principle of tota Cornicitas

Taking account of all the evidence for historical Cornish

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Level B1 (Threshold, Intermediate)



Cara Kernowek Book Three is a straightforward grammar-based course designed for motivated adults learning revived traditional Cornish with a teacher or by self-study. At present only some teachers of Cornish have a formal teaching qualification, and many teachers of those moving on from initial classes may still be learners themselves at a higher level. The course is scaffolded to encourage teachers to be confident of the core material, passing that confidence on to the student, who can then become a confident teacher of further students, in a virtuous cycle.

Standard Cornish is the spelling system used throughout. The course is divided for convenience into lessons, but teachers should work through the material at a pace that matches the interest and aptitude of the class. Teachers will no doubt wish to provide much additional opportunity to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills within the framework of each lesson.

This coursebook assumes the student is already familiar with the material covered in Cara Kernowek Book One and Cara Kernowek Book Two.

Written Cornish is mostly based on the surviving historical texts down to the end of the 16th century. Cornish as actually spoken was certainly rather different. Grammar and pronunciations truer to everyday speech were preserved in records of the 17th and 18th centuries, and from this evidence we can restore a conversational register for use alongside more formal prose styles. Book Three continues to introduce truly colloquial alternatives so you can develop a lively idiom of your own.

Cara Kernowek departs from the typical coursebook convention which has characters using Cornish but not explicitly inhabiting a world where Cornish is a part of everyday life. The various dialogues in this book are set in a slightly modified universe where Cornish is already the language of home and work for a significant minority of people in Cornwall. Students can be encouraged to think wisely about the personal, social and political issues that naturally arise in this scenario.

I am ever grateful to Professor Nicholas Williams and Michael Everson for their advice and support; and I should like to thank my students who road-tested the book, especially Peter Jenkin, Dominic Ó Ceallaigh, and Kyle Odgers.

Ian Jackson, MA (Cantab), MA (Oxon), QTS

lovinglivingcornish, [July] 2024




The vocabulary at the end of this book consolidates all the Cornish words introduced in Cara Kernowek Book One, Cara Kernowek Book Two and Cara Kernowek Book Three

Here are links to Cara Kernowek Book One and Cara Kernowek Book Two in case you need to refer back to them for grammar or explanation

Return to Cara Kernowek Book One

Return to Cara Kernowek Book Two

Lesson 1

Containing Exercises 1 - 4

Present subjunctive of bos; conjunctions erna and kettel; pynag and pynag oll; ha with words for similar / same; kepar ha and kepar dell; saying ‘time, occasion’; dhe expressing ‘of’ etc; full inflected preterite tense; suffixes forming abstract nouns from adjectives; model answers

Lesson 2

Containing Exercises 5 - 11

Infixed pronouns; emphasizing direct object when expressed by infixed pronoun; higher register and brevity; saying ‘Don’t worry’; infixed pronouns expressing indirect object; y’m beus; a’m beus in statements; a’m beus in questions; ny’m beus and na’m beus; model answers

Lesson 3

Containing Exercises 12 - 14

Using y’m beus etc instead of particle re; prop particle; Fifth State after ’th; imperfect, future, present subjunctive of y’m beus; preterite of y’m beus; adding emphasis to y’m beus etc; ’th in place of dha; model answers

Lesson 4

Containing Exercises 15 - 18

More inflected present-future tenses: cafos, cara, cresy, dos, gweles, kemeres, leverel, ry; leverta; personal forms of inter; in udn; impersonal present-future; infixed pronouns as indirect object: other instances; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 5

Containing Exercises 19 - 25

Medhes; hevelly; imperfect subjunctive of bos; ‘if only’ wishes; subjunctive of mydnas, gwil, godhvos, gallos; negative ‘if only’ with second subjunctive; saying ‘important’; taking care with cres; purpose clause; model answers

Lesson 6

Containing Exercises 26 - 30

Habitual imperfect of bos; habitual imperfect of y'm beus; particle nans; na fors; imperfect of mydnas, gwil; saying ‘stand’; more about bys; predicative yn; talking about lawyers; pronunciation of suffix us; model answers

Lesson 7

Containing Exercises 31 - 33

Irrealis; conditional tense; more about me a garsa; conditional tense without explicit protasis; words for 'if'; changes to words before a vowel in bos / mos; negative protasis in unreal conditional sentence; various meanings of seul; model answers

Lesson 8

Containing Exercises 34 - 36

Subjunctive of cafos, dos, mos, ry; take care with some forms of gallos and mos; conditional with mar teffen vy; conditional tense in protasis; inflected conditional tenses of other verbs; negative exhortations; nouns employed as attributive adjectives; adverbs employed as attributive adjectives; attributive adjectives used without a noun; suffix va and compounds built with chy; prefix dy (di); suffix ans / yans; happy families; model answers

Lesson 9

Containing Exercises 37 - 38

kepar ha pàn; similes; more about avell; y codhvia and y talvia; prepositions as conjunctions; miscellaneous inflected forms; meaning of clôwes; verbs with few or no inflected forms; pronoun na + Third State mutation; verbal adjectives not ending in ys; model answers

Lesson 10

Containing Exercises 39 - 44

Questions of quantity / degree; exclamations with question words; subject / object questions; oblique questions; prepositional questions; pyw preceded by preposition; pynag not preceded by preposition; asking ‘where from’; negative particle in open questions; emphatic personal pronouns; model answers

Lesson 11

Containing Exercises 45 - 53

Telling people what to do; requesting; compelling, encouraging, inspiring, persuading, provoking, urging; permitting; recommending; warning; deciding; agreeing; bedhyn, bedhens; taking care with rag; denominative verbs; model answers

Lesson 12

Containing Exercises 54 - 59

Paying; inflected imperfect tense; more about tenses in indirect statement: what to do with indicative verbs, what to do with subjunctive verbs; saying ‘even’; collective versus singulative; pronouncing suffix ieth; model answers

Lesson 13

Containing Exercises 60 - 64

Accompanying attributes / circumstances; saying ‘early’ and ‘late’; more about pynag; paired conjunctions; saying ‘whether … or’; prepositions in kerhyn and in herwyth; sense of verbal adjectives; model answers

Lesson 14

Containing Exercises 65 - 68

Attributive adjective preceding its noun; attributive adjective as prefix; more about intensification; reduced suffixed pronouns; all about oll; saying ‘in case’; personal forms of a-ugh and ages; conjunction hedre; suffixes ak, ek, yl; model answers

Lesson 15

Containing Exercises 69 - 75

Kettep; saying ‘let’s’; Welsh lenition; Celtic points of the compass; neologisms based on Welsh; perfect tense of dos; perfect tense of mos; pluperfect tense; yma, ymowns versus eus, usy, usons; exclamatory adjective; limitations of grammatical gender; more about pronoun reference; intensifying adjectives as adverbs; more about prefixation; counting beyond a hundred; expressing millions, billions, trillions; referring to decades; 24 hour clock; web addresses; model answers

Gerva - Vocabulary

All the Cornish words in Books One, Two and Three

Find links to model answers for the exercises at the end of each Lesson

Click or tap here for the Pronunciation Guide

Click or tap here for the Consolidated Index to the first three Cara Kernowek coursebooks





Here are some more new words.

fùndya found, establish, gwith protection (also care), pesy request (also pray), scol nessa secondary school, spêdya succeed (at something specific)

gwith lafyl means ‘custody’ in the legal sense

Whereas govyn employs a simple verb-noun for the action or state that is requested, pesy is usually linked to a verb-noun by preposition a. See Lesson Eleven.

inter ‘between’ is also used to mean ‘among’, especially when speaking of a relationship rather than mere physical presence.

Practys OnenExercise One

We should begin with a quick reminder about the Tonkin family. We first met them in Cara Kernowek Book Two. They continue to play a part in this third coursebook.

Elen Tonkin yw ugh-clojiores, Powl hy gour yw atorny. Ymowns y trigys in Trûrû. Demelsa yw myrgh dhe Elen, ha’y thas yw Perys Pentreath, sodhak orth Consel Kernow. Mark ha Danyel yw mebyon dhe Elen ha Powl. Yma gwith lafyl Demelsa dh’y mabm. Tavas chy an teylu yw Kernowek. Yma Danyel i’n Pympes Bledhen i’n scol elvednek. Yma Mark i’n Êthves Bledhen i’n scol nessa. Yma Demelsa kefrës i’n keth scol-ma. Y whrug hy spêdya yn pòr dhâ i’n apposyansow GCSE. Lebmyn y fëdh hy ow tallath an Wheffes Class. Fysyk, kemyk, calcorieth yw towlen hy studhyans. Pendescadores an Scol a wrug pesy orth Demelsa a fùndya cowethas dhe’n tavas Kernowek inter an studhyoryon.

Present subjunctive of bos

The present subjunctive of bos is the only distinctively present subjunctive still in frequent use in everyday Cornish. It is used in wishes introduced by particle re; and after temporal conjunctions referring to the future or to what happens every time. It is also employed in clauses to indicate a degree of uncertainty or that things are open-ended. There is no mutation of the present subjunctive of bos after particle re expressing a wish; just as when the same particle is used with the preterite of bos to indicate a completed past event.

Here are the forms. It is very common to omit the pronouns vy, jy etc with the present subjunctive. They are nearly always omitted when the same grammatical subject is specified in another clause of the same sentence.

biv vy or byma, by jy or bosta, bo ev, bo hy, bo + noun subject, ben ny, bowgh why, bowns y

Be careful with the vowel in ben (not bon). Here are some examples. As these suggest, bo is easily the most commonly used of the present subjunctive forms.

Re bo govenek!

Let’s hope so! (we’ve long known this phrase)

Me a wra derivas orto pàn vo prës dâ.

I’ll tell him when the time is right.

Res yw dhyn gortos erna vo parys.

We must wait until it’s ready.

Kettel vowgh parys ny a yll dallath.

As soon as you’re ready we can start.

Te yw sqwith bÿth pàn vy gwelys genam.

You’re tired whenever I see you.

Ow broder a vydn gobonya pynag a vo an gewar.

My brother goes jogging whatever the weather.

Porposys yns y dhe brena oll an breghtanow a vo kefys ena.

They intend to buy all the sandwiches they can find there.

Gwra dell vo dâ genes.

Do as you like.

Conjunctions erna and kettel

Erna ‘until’ (ernag before vowels in forms of bos) and kettel ‘as soon as’ are subordinating conjunctions, so they are followed directly by the verb. Like pàn ‘when’ they can also be used with an ordinary past tense. And as with pàn the verb mutates into Second State.

Here are a couple of examples with a past tense.

Me a wrug gortos erna veuva devedhys.

I waited until he arrived.

Kettel veu devedhys ny êth ha debry.

As soon as he arrived we went for a meal.

Pynag and pynag oll

Pynag is a pronoun meaning ‘whatever’ or ‘whoever’ according to context. It is followed by link particle a and a subjunctive verb. With addition of oll it can also be used as an adjective meaning ‘whatever’. For example, gwra ûsya pynag oll colour a vo dâ genes ‘use whatever colour you like’. The noun occasionally goes into Second State after pynag oll – there is no hard-and-fast rule. For instance, pynag oll tra or pynag oll dra ‘whatever thing’. Another possible construction is pan or panapynag. For example, gwra ûsya pana golour pynag a vo dâ genes.


Here are some more new words.

alowa allow, an cans per cent, bêwa live (one’s life), clâvyon pl sick people, patients, colenwel fulful, implement, dybarow separate, element element, ensampyl example, galwansus adj professional, magata as well, mêny family (as a household), restorya restore, strem stream (all senses), tysk m & f handful (literally or figuratively), warleny last year, whansa wish, desire

Gwir ‘truth’ is also used to mean ‘right’ – what is right, or a right to have or do something.

Practys DewExercise Two

Remember the Cornwall where the Tonkins live is a little different from the Cornwall that we know from our own experience.

I’n Gernow may ma'n teylu Tonkin ow pêwa inhy yth yw an tavas Kernowek côwsys gans pymthek an cans, ogas lowr, a’n mênys. A ny veu Kernowek bythqweth marow? A veu Kernowek restorys meur moy ès dell wharva i’gan Kernow ny? Y hyllowgh why dôwys an pëth a wrewgh cresy. Saw hedhyw, in Kernow an teylu Tonkin, yma qwestyons brâs. Pygebmys Kernowek a yll bos alowys i’n scolyow? Pan gwiryow a vëdh dhe’n gowsoryon a’n Kernowek ûsya an tavas i’n bêwnans poblek? Pana gowntnans a vëdh wor’tu ha’n lies huny nag yw parys dh’y dhesky?

Yma Elen ha Powl ow côwsel Kernowek i’ga whel galwansus. Wolcùm yw hebma pàn na vo Sowsnek an kensa tavas dhe’n glâvyon ha dhe’n cliens. Saw nyns yw an perthynas orth cowethysy êsy pùpprës pàn na wor an re-ma ùnderstondya myns a vo leverys.

Yth yw scol elvednek Danyel Tonkin onen a’n scolyow may ma flehes ow tesky in Kernowek. Saw nyns eus descadoryon lowr rag colenwel hebma dhe bùb testen. In scol Danyel yma dew strem: Sowsnek ha Kernowek. Bÿth pàn vo descador rag desky dhe’n scoloryon in Kernowek, y fëdh an strêmys ow studhya dybarow. Yma udn descador, Mêster Teague, ow vysytya in mes a’n scol nessa rag desky elementys an dhorydhieth dhe'n flehes in Kernowek. Powl yw caderyor lewydhyon an scol ha pòr whensys yw ev dhe weles meur moy a dhyscans elvednek in Kernowek. Hag yn fen yma Elen ow scodhya an whans-ma.

In scol Mark ha Demelsa yma lessons in Kernowek in tysk bian a destednow, ha nebes Kernowek yw ûsys in sport hag euryow an creftow frank. Mêster Teague, rag ensampyl, yw descador a’n dhorydhieth in Kernowek. Ev yw rowtor magata dhe radn a’n parrys pel droos. Mark o warleny capten Kensa XI an Seythves Bledhen, ha Mêster Teague a yll côwsel Kernowek orto yn fenowgh.

The literal meaning of myns is ‘size’ or ‘quantity’. With an adjectival clause myns a means ‘everything that’.

Scolor is used both in the older sense of ‘pupil in a school’ and also in the modern senses of someone who engages in scholarship (that is, works as an academic) or someone who receives money or privileges because they have demonstrated high academic ability. That is a lot of different meanings for one word, so be on your guard against ambiguity. Scolheyk is a word meaning exclusively one who engages in scholarship – this will be a better choice for that sense most of the time.

Ha with words for similar / same

We first encountered ha in the sense ‘and’. But it is important to appreciate this is actually just a secondary meaning of the word. Primarily ha is a preposition meaning ‘with’ a particular characteristic or ‘with’ a particular circumstance. We use it in this sense when we say kehaval ha ‘similar to’ and an keth (or kethsam) tra / colour / shâp etc ha ‘the same [thing] / colour / shape etc as’. It is the ke- element of these words that triggers the use of ha. So we say haval dhe ‘similar to’, not haval ha.

Remember that ha may become hag before any vowel, but the change is always optional.

Kepar ha and kepar dell

We also use ha in the sense ‘with’ after kepar, which as an adjective (either preceding or following its noun when it is attributive) meaning ‘of that / the same sort’. To liken something to some other noun or pronoun we put kepar ha ‘[just] like’ in front of it. We have already met in Book Two the phrase kepar dell ‘[just] as’ that we use in front of a verb. A more literary form is kepar ha dell.

Here are some examples.

Bythqweth ny welys kepar omdhon.

I never saw behaviour like it.

Oll an dra a godhas warbarth kepar ha chy cartednow.

The whole thing collapsed like a house of cards.

Dieth brâs nag yw hy kepar ha my.

It’s a great pity she’s not like me.

An fordh o degës, kepar dell wrug vy darleverel.

The road was closed, just as I predicted.

If we are likening something to some object we already know, then we can say kepar ha hebma etc. But if we are referring to the manner in which something is done we say indelma ‘in this way’, indelha ‘in that way’ or in ketelma ‘in the same way’. We can also use the nouns fordh and maner in phrases such as i’n keth fordh-ma and i’n kethsam maner-na.

Kepar ha and kepar dell may be reduced to par ha and par dell. Pecar is a colloquial form of kepar. And pecar ha may be reduced to pecara. Instead of kepar dell we can say colloquially pecar der (pecar dr’ before a vowel in forms of bos).


Here are some more new words.

alebma rag from now on, breus judgment, opinion, cornel corner (used interchangeably with cornet), kereth penalty (disciplinary action), omgemeres take responsibility (for some undertaking), pollat fellow, pôt kick, scorya score

gwas ‘assistant’ is also used like pollat to mean ‘fellow, chap, guy’

Practys TryExercise Three


A vedhys capten dhe’n Kensa XI i’n vledhen-ma kepar ha warleny?


Nor’vy màn. Mêster Teague o omgemerys rag oll an bel droos i’n Seythves Bledhen warleny. Nowodhow spladn yw ev dhe dhos lebmyn dhe omgemeres i’n Êthves Bledhen, awos bos descador nowyth jùnys, neb a vydn kemeres an Seythves Bledhen alebma rag.


Aswonys yw Mêster Teague dhybm. Yma ev ow tos dhe’m scol vy rag desky dorydhieth dhyn. In Kernowek. Ev a wrug desky lies tra dhyn ow tùchya an tesyans bÿs-efan.


Eâ, pollat dâ yw hedna. Gwell dhe’m breus ès an moyha radn a’n dhescadoryon. Ha brav yw va gans an bel. Parra a dhescadoryon pà wrug warleny chalynjya Kensa XI an Wheffes Class, an gwas-ma a scoryas tergweyth! Udn gol gorrys bryntyn in very cornet an roos. Onen a dheuth dre vobm pedn warlergh pôt cornel. Ha’n tressa o pôt kereth. Marthys crev. Ny veu dhe’n gwethyas chauns vëth!

Saying ‘time, occasion’

Gweyth ‘time, occasion’ is a feminine noun that should not be confused with masculine gweyth ‘work accomplished’.

Feminine gweyth combines with numerals one to ten, and a hundred and a thousand, as follows:

unweyth ‘once’, dywweyth ‘twice’, tergweyth ‘three times’, and then pedergweyth, pympgweyth, whe gweyth, seythgweyth, êthgweyth, nawgweyth, degweyth, canqweyth (or cansqweyth), milweyth.

We can use an ordinal in an adverbial phrase: for example, tressa gweyth ‘for the third time’. Note lies gweyth ‘many times’ and pan lies gweyth? ‘how many times?’ The plural gweythyow appears as the second element of traweythyow ‘sometimes’.

Note also dëdhweyth ‘in the day’ (also ‘one day’) and nosweyth ‘in the night’. Nosweyth can be used as a feminine noun for the ‘eve’ of a festival; and as a higher register equivalent of gordhuwher ‘evening’, as in Demelsa’s nosweyth ilow ‘evening concert’.

Otherwise we generally use treveth, occasionally torn, for ‘time, occasion’. For example, dêwdhek treveth ‘twelve / a dozen times’, hanter-cans torn ‘fifty times’. There is also tro with similar sense, but it tends not to be used with numerals; note an dro-ma ‘this time’, dewetha tro ‘last time’, and rag tro ‘temporary, provisional’. We met nessa tro ‘next time’ in Book Two.

While we note torn to mean ‘time’, we can also remark on i’n tor’-ma 'now' and i’n tor’-na 'then'. The elision here is standard. And the sense is one of impermanent state, recently realized or soon to be lost. Contrast i’n eur-ma and i’n eur-na (nena) which do not automatically carry this nuance.

Dhe expressing ‘of’ etc

Cornish mostly expresses straightforward possession with the ‘genitive construction’. Preposition is used with demonstrative pronouns. And this preposition renders other ideas for which English uses ‘of’ – material, origin, quantity etc. Cornish typically uses preposition dhe when the idea is relationship. For instance capten dhe’n Kensa XI ‘captain of the First XI’. In the case of an idea like cowethas dhe’n tavas Kernowek English might instead use ‘for’ or even ‘about’.

The construction with dhe is also useful where the idea is indeed possession but the first item in the phrase must be prevented from not becoming definite (something that happens automatically when the genitive construction is employed). Contrast Powl yw caderyor lewydhyon an scol with Powl yw lewyth dhe’n scol. The first means that he is the chair of governors of the school – that is, there is only one chairperson. The second means that he is governor of the school – that is, there are many governors.

Full inflected preterite tense

We have learned how to make statements using the inflected preterite tense of verbs with link particle a or completive particle re. For example, me a vysytyas ow modryp ‘I visited my aunt’, an venyn re sevys in bàn ‘the woman has got up’Now we should learn all the forms of the preterite tense so that we can ask questions, make negative statements, and also express affirmative statements introduced by particle y where the subject follows the verb.

Verbs follow one of two possible patterns in the inflected preterite tense. The first pattern does not involve any change of vowel in the stem of the verb. In the second pattern an a, sometimes an o, in the stem changes to an in some of the forms. These are instances of the phenomenon we call ‘affection’. Other vowels do not change.

Here are the forms belonging to the first pattern, with prena as our model verb.

prenys vy, prensys [jy], prenas ev, prenas hy, prenas + noun subject, prensyn [ny], prensowgh [why], prensons [y]

Here are the forms belonging to the second pattern, using dallath as our model verb.

dalethys vy, dalethsys [jy], dalathas ev, dalathas hy, dalathas + noun subject, dalethsyn [ny], dalethsowgh [why], dalathsons [y]

Forms preceded by interrogative particle a, link particle a or completive particle re, and negative forms introduced by negative particles ny and na will be in Second State as usual. For example, an lyver a brenys vy dewetha seythen ‘the book that I bought last week’.

Forms preceded by affirmative particle will be in Fifth State as usual: for example, Mis Genver y talethys aventuryans nowyth. ‘In January I embarked upon a new venture.’

The pronouns jy, ny, why, y are used with these forms only to provide emphasis. And the pronouns vy, ev, hy can always be omitted, as usual.

It is important to bear in mind that, except for the ‘he/she’ and occasional ‘I’ and ‘you (singular)’ preterites, none of these forms are used very much in traditional Cornish except in relatively high written registers. Questions, negative statements, and affirmative statements employing particle are all generally built with auxiliary verb gwil.

So we usually encounter, for instance, A wrug ev dallath? rather than A dhalathas ev? meaning ‘Did he begin?’ Likewise, Ny wrug vy dallath rather than Ny dhalethys meaning ‘I didn’t begin’. And Y whrussons dallath for ‘They did not begin’ already sounds quite formal; there will rarely be cause to raise the register as far as Y talathsons.

If you wish to use the inflected preterite of a particular verb, and are unsure how it is formed, you should not hesitate to check in a reference book of grammar.

We are already familiar with the variation between endings as and ys in the third person singular. The ending ys belongs to the second pattern, but with the same change of vowel in the stem as for the first person singular form.

Forms with inserted s sometimes modify their stem to avoid an unpronounceable outcome. For example, Ny dhepsys ‘You did not eat’ (verb-stem debr ‘eat’). Verbs with stems ending in consonantal drop this letter before s of a preterite ending. For example, verb-stem pony ‘run’ but A bonsowgh? ‘Did you run?’

Particle a omitted before inflected forms of mos

We learned in Book Two that link particle is not used with inflected preterite form êth ‘went’, so we say simply me êth ‘I went’. In fact link particle is omitted before all inflected forms of mos.


Here are a few more new words.

agensow recently, in udn rew in a row, ke fence (also hedge)

uhel referring to a sound or a voice means ‘loud’

Practys PeswarExercise Four

Substitute the preterite tense formed with auxiliary verb gwil for the inflected preterite tense in each of these sentences. What do the sentences mean?

A brensowgh chy nowyth? Ny worfensyn an whel. Y teuthsons in udn rew. Ny welys an pëth esa ow wharvos. A bôtsys an bel dres an ke? Ny vysytys Dama Wydn agensow. Y crias an vowes uhel hy lev. Ny elwys ev ma’s tysk bian a gothmans dh’y gyffewy. A glôwsys oll an tros? Y wharthas pùbonen.

Suffixes forming abstract nouns from adjectives

Cornish has many suffixes that are added after a core element to make further words.

One common way of forming abstract nouns is to add the suffix der to an adjective. So lel ‘loyal’, lelder ‘loyalty’. If the adjective ends in s or a ‘fricative’ sound, then der becomes ter and the sound in front of the suffix is ‘devoiced’. So poos ‘heavy’, poster ‘heaviness’. And cuv ‘kind’, cufter ‘kindness’.

Some adjectives employ suffix neth instead. For example, sley ‘skilful’, sleyneth ‘skilfulness’.

Some adjectives employ suffix sys. For instance kempen ‘tidy’, kempensys ‘tidiness’.

A noun formed with any of these suffixes is always masculine. A very few have a plural in ow where sense requires. The most common of them is cales ‘hard’, caletter ‘hardness’ or ‘difficulty’; caleterow ‘difficulties’. The double of caletter originated in Old Cornish and remains in today’s language as a ‘fossil’ – sometimes we find alternative spelling caletterow that retains it in the plural too.

The suffix eth is another maker of masculine abstract nouns, and some of these are derived from adjectives. For example, abyl ‘able’, ableth ‘ability’; and real ‘real’, realeth ‘reality’. Care must be taken to identify this suffix correctly, because there is another suffix eth (rarer) that forms feminine nouns (kemeneth ‘community’ for example); and a further suffix ieth (productive) that forms feminine names for sciences etc (calcorieth ‘mathematics’ for instance).

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson One

Click or tap here




Infixed pronouns

We have learned that the possessive pronouns are used to express the direct object of a verb-noun.

Here are some examples.

Yth esof ow vysytya an hendrajy; yth esof orth y vysytya.

I am visiting the museum; I am visiting it.

Me a vydn vysytya an lyverva; me a vydn hy vysytya.

I shall visit the library; I shall visit it.

Me a wrug vysytya an shoppys; me a wrug aga vysytya.

I visited the shops; I visited them.

With inflected verbs we do not use a possessive pronoun. Instead we employ an ‘infixed’ personal pronoun after the verbal particle. Here are the forms of the infixed pronouns.

’m me, ’th you, ’n him, it (masculine reference), ’s her, it (feminine reference), ’gan us, ’gas you (plural or stranger), ’s them

And here are some examples to show you how they work.

Tas a’m vysytyas. ‘Dad visited me’. Mabm a’th vysytyas. ‘Mum visited you.’ Sîra Wydn a’n vysytyas. ‘Granddad visited him.’ Dama Wydn a’s vysytyas. ‘Grandma visited her.’ Ôwnter a’gan vysytyas. ‘Uncle visited us.’ Modryp a’gas vysytyas. ‘Auntie visited you. Cosyn Jûlyan a’s vysytyas. ‘Cousin Julian visited them.’

Y’m vysytyas Tas. ‘Dad visited me.’ Y’th vysytyas Mabm. ‘Mum visited you.’ Y’n vysytyas Sîra Wydn. ‘Granddad visited him.’ Y’s vysytyas Dama Wydn. ‘Grandma visited her.’ Y’gan vysytyas Ôwnter. ‘Uncle visited us.’ Y’gas vysytyas Modryp. ‘Auntie visited you. Y’s vysytyas Kenderow Jûlyan. ‘Cousin Julian visited them.’

A’m vysytyas Tas? ‘Did Dad visit me?’ A’th vysytyas Mabm? ‘Did Mum visit you?’ A’n vysytyas Sîra Wydn? ‘Did Granddad visit him?’ A’s vysytyas Dama Wydn? ‘Did Grandma visit her?’ A’gan vysytyas Ôwnter? ‘Did Uncle visit us?’ A’gas vysytyas Modryp? ‘Did Auntie visit you? A’s vysytyas Cosyn Jûlyan? ‘Did Cousin Julian visit them?’

Ny’m vysytyas Tas. ‘Dad did not visit me.’ Ny’th vysytyas Mabm. ‘Mum did not visit you.’ Ny’n vysytyas Sîra Wydn. ‘Granddad did not visit him.’ Ny’s vysytyas Dama Wydn. ‘Grandma did not visit her.’ Ny’gan vysytyas Ôwnter. ‘Uncle did not visit us.’ Ny’gas vysytyas Modryp. ‘Auntie did not visit you. Ny’s vysytyas Cosyn Jûlyan. ‘Cousin Julian did not visit them.’


Here are some more new words.

arethya speak publicly, lecture, cosyn cousin (also close friend), fenten spring, fountain, knava rascal, knoukya knock (multiple blows), mockya mock, rûth crowd

Practys PympExercise Five

Rephrase the following sentences using an inflected preterite with an infixed pronoun to express the direct object. For affirmative statements there will be two possibilities. What do the sentences mean?

Ny a wrug dha verkya de i’n hel arethya. Ny wrug an rûth y vockya. Y whrussys ow gortos in tyller cabm. An knava a wrug hy knoukya dhe’n dor. A wrussowgh aga hafos yn êsy lowr?

Emphasizing direct object when expressed by infixed pronoun

We know that a subject pronoun can always be omitted after any inflected verb. There is no ambiguity without it whenever all the ‘subject information’ is encoded in the ending of the verb. If we do omit a subject pronoun when an infixed pronoun expresses the direct object, then we are in a position to put a pronoun after the verb to emphasize the object, or to remove ambiguity about the object. For example, Ny’n scodhys ev. ‘I didn’t support him.’ Or A’s depsys y? ‘Did you eat them?’ meaning, say, many cakes (tesen f ‘cake’); as opposed to A’s depsys hy? meaning just one.

Practys WheExercise Six

How would you say the following in Cornish, using infixed pronouns.

I saw her. Did they hear us? I have not done it. Did you (singular) find them? You (plural) did not finish it.

Higher register and brevity

Infixed pronouns generally belong to higher registers. Occasionally they appear in proverbial expressions. For instance, a lagas an fenten me a’n cafas ‘I got it straight from the horse’s mouth’. In everyday language infixed pronouns are very frequently ‘side-stepped’ by employing an auxiliary verb instead. So Ny’s vysytyas Cosyn Jûlyan will generally be Ny wrug Cosyn Jûlyan aga vysytya unless we wish to express the idea in very formal fashion.

Infixed pronouns do still play a part in conversation whenever brevity is sought. Exercise 7 is a piece of rapid conversation where infixed pronouns help speed up expression.


Here are some more new words.

arâg in front, avàn upstairs, bagh hook, cunys col fuel, dewhans quick as you can, diogel secure, safe, erbysy save (make savings), fysky rush, gwyw (also gweff) suitable, ken lawsuit (also cause), kentervys hectic, lien codna scarf, reckna reckon, saw intact, safe, scrif document, stadyùm stadium, studhva study (room), trafyk traffic, troyll whirl, whegen darling (also edible sweet)

bos maglys gans means ‘be involved with’

Trog is typically used of boxes for carriage or storage. We have met trog dyllas ‘suitcase’ and trog tedna ‘drawer’. Trog an carr means ‘the car boot’.

Practys SeythExercise Seven

Yma Powl ha Mark ow scodhya an clùb pel droos Plymouth Argyle. Hedhyw ymowns y owth ombarusy dhe vysytya gam i’n stadyùm Home Park. Mès holergh yns y. Oll yw troyll ha toth kentervys.

Elen :

A Mark, fysten! An vor’ nyns yw cot. Th’yw res reckna’n trafyk i’wedh. Ple ma Powl?


Avàn. I’n studhva. Trog an carr o leun a scrîvyow. Ow longya dhe’n ken brâs yw va maglys ganso. Y’s kemeras in mes. Y fydn erbysy cunys mos ha dewheles.


Ha gwitha’n taclow’n tiogel. Dieth na’s gasas le’ma fo gweffa glân. Yn saw in y sodhva.


Ple ma ow lien codna lelder? A’n gwelsys neb plâss?


Wàr’n bagh ryb an daras ’rag. Te a’n gorras dy rag perthy cov anodho.


In gwir! Hag otta Tas ow tos.


Powl, kê gèn rach. Nyns yw ma’s fyt pel droos. Ny dal fysky peryllys.


Trobel taw. Ma termyn lowr dhyn whath heb lewyas fol. Deus Mark, dewhans. Da weles, a whegen! Prës soper y fedhyn ny tre.

Saying ‘Don’t worry’

Perhaps the commonest expression is Gas cavow dhe wandra, literally ‘Let cares wander [away]’. Or you can say Na vëdh anês ‘Don’t be uneasy’ or Na borth awhêr (or its shorter version Awhêr vëth), literally ‘Don’t bear distress’. Trobel taw, literally ‘Trouble be silent’, is at the more forceful end of the idea, suggesting the worry is inevitable and mentioning it is not helpful.

Infixed pronouns expressing indirect object

Possessive pronouns with a verb-noun always express the direct object. Most frequently infixed pronouns are likewise used to express a direct object. But infixed pronouns may also express an indirect object.

Y’m beus

The most prominent case of infixed pronouns as indirect object is when they are employed with bos in the sense ‘have’. We learned in Book One that we may express ‘have’ in the sense of possession by using the verb bos ‘to be’ with preposition dhe. It is also possible to use verb bos with an infixed pronoun expressing the possessor as indirect object.

In the present tense we use eus for this construction in place of yma. But this eus is in most cases modified by the addition of a prefixed element.

If the identity of the possessor is already known, we may introduce the construction with affirmative particle y. In that case these are the full present tense forms.

y’m beus ‘I have’

y’th eus ‘you have’

y’n jeves ‘he has’ or ‘it has’ (masculine reference)

y’s teves ‘she has or ‘it has’ (feminine reference)

y’gan beus ‘we have’

y’gas beus ‘you have’ (plural or stranger)

y’s teves ‘they have’

Here are some examples to show you how these forms work in practice.

Y’m beus carr. ‘I have a car.’ Y’th eus jyn dywros. ‘You have a motorbike.’ Y’n jeves kevambos. ‘He has a contract.’ Y’s teves caror. ‘She has a boyfriend.’ Y’gan beus problem. ‘We have a problem.’ Y’gas beus leder wàr y bydn. ‘You have a bias against him.’ Y’s teves aga ragvreusow. ‘They have their prejudices.’

We can also use y’m beus to express an indirect statement. For example, Hy a leverys y’s teves aga ragvreusow. ‘She said they have their prejudices.’


Here are some more new words.

asteveryans compensation, bùngalow bungalow, cubmyas lewyas driving licence, floghwith childcare, gwin m wine, hocky hockey, lùck dâ m (good) luck, mycroscobmyn microchip, owrek golden, screw screw, ster col stars, talent talent

Practys EthExercise Eight

How would you say the following in Cornish, using an y’m beus construction?

We have a right to know. They have flu. I’ve got an idea. You (singular) have enough money. He has many talents.

A’m beus in statements

If we wish to start with the possessor, we use link particle instead of affirmative particle y. Here are some examples.

Me a’m beus carr. Te a’th eus jyn dywros. Ev a’n jeves kevambos. Hy a’s teves caror. Ny a’gan beus problem. Why a’gas beus leder wàr y bydn. Y a’s teves aga ragvreusow. Pyw a’n jeves ow gwelen hocky? Pëth a’th eus? Note we do not use pandra with this construction.

Here are a couple of examples with a noun as possessor.

Consel Kernow a’n jeves sodhva rag an tavas Kernowek.

Cornwall Council has an office for the Cornish language.

An goffyva a’s teves vu wàr an lydn in mes.

The café has a view out over the lake.

Sometimes we start with the thing possessed – fronted for emphasis.

Carr a’m beus.

I have a car.

Vu wàr an lydn a’s teves.

It has a view of the lake.

If both the possessor and the possessed are expressed as nouns, common sense may be required to work out which is which. For instance, Bond nowyth a’s teves an dhywros ‘The bicycle has a new tyre.’

We can also employ a’m beus etc in adjectival clauses. For example, Saw res yw dhybm êwna toll a’m beus solabrës i’m bond nowyth ‘But I must mend a puncture I’ve already got in my new tyre’.

Practys NawExercise Nine

Put the sentences in Exercise 8 into Cornish using an a’m beus construction. Then put these extra sentences into Cornish in the same way.

The restaurant has a Michelin star. The hotel has twenty five bedrooms. Charlie has a golden ticket. Granddad has a bungalow by the sea. What have you (singular) got in your bag?

A’m beus in questions

Yes/no questions are asked with interrogative particle a. In this case any noun for the possessor is best placed at the beginning, but outside the question itself. Here are two examples.

A’th eus jyn dywros?

Do you have a motorbike?

An goffyva – a’s teves vu wàr an lydn in mes?

Does the café have a view out over the lake?

Practys DegExercise Ten

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Does he have permission to do that? Does the bus that goes to London have a toilet? Do we have more than one option? Do all the wine bottles have a screw top? Has she got childcare?

Ny’m beus and na’m beus

Negative statements are formed as usual with particle ny. Again, any noun for the possessor is best placed at the beginning, but without the need for specific punctuation. Or the thing that is not possessed can be fronted for emphasis.

Ny’th eus jyn dywros.

You don’t have a motorbike.

An goffyva ny’s teves vu wàr an lydn in mes.

The café does not have a view out over the lake.

Tra vëth ny’m beus.

I’ve got nothing at all.

We can employ na’m beus etc in adjectival clauses.

Rag êwna an toll i’n to y fëdh otham a vona na’gan beus màn.

To mend the hole in the roof will require money that we just don’t have.

We can also use na’m beus to express a negative indirect statement.

Hy a leverys na’s teves ragvreus vëth.

She said they do not have any prejudice.

Practys UdnekExercise Eleven

How would you say the following in Cornish?

I don’t have a laptop. This dog has no microchip. We never have much luck. He only has three points on his licence. Currently they are all people who have no right at all to compensation.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Two

Click or tap here




Using y’m beus etc instead of particle re

We know that particle re may be substituted for particle a with an inflected preterite tense to emphasize completion. When possession is involved and the completed action still has current relevance we can achieve the same effect by using a form of y’m beus or a’m beus with the verbal adjective. For example, me a’m beus try fasty prenys ‘I bought three pasties (and still have them now)’.


Here are some more new words.

academyk academic, arfeth employ, cowl-gompes (fully) qualified, encressya (often clipped to cressya) increase, euryador timetable, nôtya announce (also note), poyntya allocate, assign (also appoint), provia provide, soodh position (as officer or employee)

haha means ‘both … and’

Practys DêwdhekExercise Twelve

Powl and Elen receive a letter from the Head Teacher of Danyel’s primary school.

A Vêster Tonkin, a Vêstres Tonkin wheg,

Danyel a veu poyntys dhe’n strem Kernowek pàn wrussyn ny dallath profya rann a’gan lessons in Kernowek; hag i’n vledhen academyk eus passys ev a ylly cafos lessons a’n dhorydhieth i’n tavas-ma, grâss e dhe dhescador Mêster Edward Teague o abyl dh’agan vysytya in mes a’n scol nessa vrâs. Hevleny y’gan beus Mêster Teague arfedhys unweyth arta, ha Danyel lemmyn i’n Pympes Bledhen.

Lowen ov i’wedh dhe nôtya tell vëdh lessons a istory provies hevleny in Kernowek, gans Mêstres Eryca Rowe, usy ow jùnya felshyp agan scol in soodh termyn leun.

Yma govenek dhyn myns an euryador yw in Kernowek dhe encressya tamm ha tamm i’n bledhynnyow usy ow tos. Saw ny vëdh chaunj dh’agan polycy profya lessons in Kernowek only pàn y’gan bÿdh descador(es) cowl-gompes, ha dhe’n tavas ha dhe’n desten specyfyk.

Gans gorhemynadow a’n gwelha,

Lily Goss


The phrase eus passys is fixed. Strictly we might expect yw passys. That is possible but far less common. Using eus gives a sense of location in the past.

Grâss e dhe is a fixed phrase equivalent to a preposition, corresponding to English ‘thanks to’. It is commonly heard in the exclamation Grâss e dhe Dhuw! ‘Thank God!’ or ‘Thank goodness!’

Felshyp means ‘friendship’; an felshyp is also used to refer to 'the staff’ of an office or organization.

The best English equivalent for in soodh termyn leun will be ‘on a full time basis’.

The fuller form of gormynadow is gorhemynadow.

Prop particle

The general rule is that an infixed pronoun must be attached to a particle preceding the verb. Whenever in the absence of such a pronoun there would be no particle in front of the verb, then we insert affirmative particle to act as a prop for the pronoun. Here are a couple of examples.

Pàn y’s gwelys, yth esa pows dhu adro dhedhy.

When I saw her, she was wearing a black dress.

Kyn y’s caraf a’m colon, ow flehes yw traweythyow todn trobel.

Though I love them dearly, my children are a nightmare at times.

Conjunctions ending in a vowel (simple or diphthong) do not require a prop. So the infixed pronoun is attached directly to erna and mara (and to a ‘if’ – see Lesson Five).

With mar we sometimes find the infixed pronoun propped with y, sometimes attached directly to the conjunction. It will be best to avoid mar’th because this could easily be confused with marth ‘wonder’ in conversation.

May usually simplifies to ma before an infixed pronoun, but may’n is also found.

Note also that a propped infixed pronoun may be used with dell, but not with fatell (or fatla). Nor do we find infixed pronouns ever used with colloquial forms der, dr’, tell, ter, tr’ derived from dell and fatell.

Fifth State after ’th

After ’th we employ a mix of Fifth State and Second State mutation. We treat Fifth State as the general rule, noting the instances of Second State as exceptions. Second State applies when ’th is followed by b, go, gu, gw, m.

Mutations after ’th are subject to a fixed rule in revived Cornish, but things used to be more flexible. Nowadays we always spell ’th, but originally it could be ’th or ’t or ’d. And initial b, go, gu, gw, did not necessarily have to be treated differently. Every mutation was originally a sound-change caused by phonetic environment – what linguists call ‘sandhi’ – and the mutations after ’th were the last to be fully grammaticized, occurring only with the revival of the language in the 20th century. Since then grammar books have usually designated the whole system as ‘Fifth State’ (or ‘Mixed Mutation’), including what are here treated as exceptions. But seeing b > v etc as Second State (just like we find after dha ‘your’), not Fifth State at all, will help you remember that the exceptions do not apply when Fifth State is required in other situations.

Imperfect, future, present subjunctive of y’m beus

Here are the forms of the imperfect and future tenses. Shown only with affirmative particle y for concise presentation; but interrogative particle a, link particle a, and negative particles ny and na work in the same way for every tense. Here too are the forms of the present subjunctive, shown with completive particle re indicating a wish.


y’m bo, y’th o, y’n jeva, y’s teva, y’gan bo, y’gas bo, y’s teva


y’m bÿdh, y’ fÿdh, y’n jevyth, y’s tevyth, y’gan bÿdh, y’gas bÿdh, y’s tevyth

Present subjunctive

re’m bo or re’m biv or re’m byma

re’ fo or re’ foja

re’n jeffa

re’s teffa

re’gan bo or re’gan ben

re’gas bo

re’s teffa or re’s teffons

In the future forms of this construction ÿ is usual, even for speakers who say and write ë in other situations.

The imperfect tense is built to copula (short) form o, not to local (long) form esa as one might expect. This means there is some slight potential for confusion with the present subjunctive; to some extent this can be avoided by using the alternative forms. The phrase re bo govenek is an instance where any of the forms with infixed pronoun might be used instead, to specify exactly whose hope is involved: re’gan bo govenek ‘let us hope so’, govenek re’s teffons ‘let them hope so’, etc.

In writing we sometimes encounter re’th fo instead of re’ fo. This looks like an exception to the rule that b > v after ’th. In fact it is only a spelling convention. The pronunciation is always re’ fo. Note the corresponding forms a’ fÿdh, ny’ fÿdh, na’ fÿdh, and a’ fo, ny’ fo, na’ fo: changing the particle does not change the mutation because the apostrophe always represents ’th which requires Fifth State.

Preterite of y’m beus

We know that the preterite tense of bos often has eventive force, contrasting with the stative sense of the imperfect tense. This applies equally to the y’m beus construction. Here are the preterite forms.

y’m beu (or y’m beuv), y’ feu, y’n jeva, y’s teva, y’gan beu, y’gas beu, y’s teva

The ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’ forms of the preterite are identical to those of the imperfect, so in these cases only the context will show whether the sense is eventive or stative. Note the ‘you’ (singular) forms a’ feu, ny’ feu, na’ feu as explained above. Here are a few examples.

Ev a’n jeva droglam uthyk.

He had a terrible accident.

Ny’m beu ma’s udn chauns diank.

I had just one chance to escape.

A’ feu sport dâ i’n kyffewy?

Did you have fun at the party?

Adding emphasis to y’m beus etc

Remember infixed pronouns can never themselves carry emphasis. We may switch from y’m beus to me a’m beus, or from ny’m beus to my ny’m beus, creating emphasis by grammar and word order. Or we can place a reinforcing pronoun after the verb. For example, Me a’m beus an gwelha eseth or An gwelha eseth a’m beus vy.I’ve got the best seat.’


Here are some more new words.

body body, bryght bright, chersya pamper, comendya recommend (also approve), con f evening dinner, crohen skin, dyghtyans treatment, dywenynegy detox, fentenva spa, gorlanwes luxury (also surplus), hothfy bubble, hus magic, jacûzy jacuzzi, omdrockya bathe, soak (oneself), poll pool, sauna sauna, stâtly grand, magnificent, therapydhes therapist (female), tosa knead, massage, tosans massage

Practys TredhekExercise Thirteen

Otta radn a’n text yw dhe redya wàr wiasva ostel gorlanwes. “Gwrewgh prevy agan jacûzy hothfy, omdrockya i’gan poll tomm, gasa dh’agan sauna gul y hus.” Yma Elen Tonkin in kescows gans hy henytherow Jana Bligh.


A veus jy in fentenva an ostel solabrës? Sauna a’s teves. Ha poll neyja.


Me a’s provas dewetha mis. Hag y’m beuv aga Body Bryght kefrÿs. Hèn yw dyghtyans dywenynegy dhe’n grohen.


Neppëth dhe gomendya?


An therapydhesow, myns a woraf, yw deskys dâ. Ny vëdh pecar tra isel y bris nefra. Saw mar y’th eus whans chersya dha gorf …


m bÿdh pedn bloodh nessa seythen. Powl a vydn sur gwetyas ma’gan bo con specyal in boosty stâtly. Ha my ow mos an keth jorna i’n fentenva martesen?


Tybyans brav. Fra na? Whyther rol an lies dôwys i’n gwias. Yma dyvers tosans inwedh: rag an pedn, pò dhe’n keyn, pò wàr oll an corf.


In gwrioneth? (Ow checkya der hy fon:) An wiasva a’m beus vy obma. Naw deg mynysen rag tosa fâss, pedn, corf. Ny’n jeves pris isel vëth. Saw udn dro arbednyk, rag udn jëdh arbednyk … Me a’n gwra!

Myns a woraf and kebmys a woraf are used interchangeably, meaning ‘as far as I know’. Kebmys dell woraf is a third possibility.

Gwetyas generally means ‘expect’. But when it is followed by may or na and a subjunctive verb its meaning becomes ‘see to it that’. It can also have this sense when followed by a verb-noun. So gwait bos pùptra restrys yn ewn could in theory mean ‘expect that everything is in order’; but it is more likely to mean ‘see to it that everything is in order’.

’th in place of dha

The infixed pronouns ’m, ’gan and ’gas are identical to the forms of the possessive pronouns we learned in Book One, Lesson Nine are generally used after prepositions a and dhe, after ha, and in the combinations i’m, i’gan, i’gas. These forms are also employed after na ‘nor’, and after prepositions re (in exclamations) and dre. It will therefore be no surprise that ’th is also used as a possessive pronoun in these same situations. For example, dhe’th vroder ‘to your brother’, ha’th wessyow ‘and your lips’, i’th torn ‘in your hand’.


Here are some more new words.

acceptya accept, desmygy imagine, galow call, invitation, gool demedhyans wedding reception, gorthyp answer, reply, ink ink, recêva receive, Sèn Jowan Awaylor St John the Evangelist

Practys PeswardhekExercise Fourteen

Esta ow covyn orthys dha honen pëth a wharva dhe Crysten ha Tôny, a wrusta metya gansans in Cara Kernowek Lyver Onen? Wèl, gwra desmygy te dhe recêva an galow-ma pryntys in ink owrek.





Eglos Sèn Jowan Awaylor




Gwra scrifa gorthyp. Rag acceptya; ha rag leverel keslowena dhodhans aga dew a’n golon.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Three

Click or tap here




More inflected present-future tenses

We have learned fully inflected present tenses for three verbs: bos, mydnas, godhvos. We call them ‘present tenses’ because they always have present sense. But the only function of the present tense of mydnas in ordinary Cornish prose outside of a few fixed phrases is to build future tenses for other verbs. This corresponds to the present tense verb ‘will’ that builds future tenses in English.

Examples: me yw lowen ‘I’m happy’, yth esof ow tauncya ‘I’m dancing’, my a vydn checkya ‘I’ll check’, me a wor ‘I know’.

We have learned fully inflected present-future tenses for two more verbs: gallos and gwil. We call these tenses ‘present-future’ because they have either present or future sense according to context. We are used to English ‘can’ being either present or future in such a way. But the present-future of gwil always has its future sense when used as an auxiliary verb to build future tenses for other verbs. There is no equivalent of this construction in English.

Here are some examples.

Ty a yll hy vysytya hedhyw pò ’vorow.

You can visit her today or tomorrow.

Lebmyn y whra glaw; avorow y whra ergh.

Now it’s raining; tomorrow it will snow.

Ny a wra gweles scon. We’ll soon see.

Most verbs possess an inflected present-future tense. These are principally confined to poetry and fixed expressions. But they are also useful when expression must be kept brief – for example, when making notes. There are just ten verbs that have a present-future tense frequently encountered in conversational registers. We have mentioned gallos and gwil already. The othere are cafos, cara, cresy, dos, gweles, kemeres, leverel, ry. So it is now time to commit the present-future tenses of these eight verbs to memory.

First we can note there is as usual only a single form to learn (along with any variants) when the subject precedes the verb and is connected to it by link particle a. Here are those forms; using subject me, but the same forms are used with any subject in this construction.

CAFOS: me a gev or me a gav

CARA: me a gar

CRESY: me a grës

DOS: me a dheu

GWELES: me a wel

KEMERES: me a gebmer

LEVEREL: me a lever or me a laver

RY: me a re or me a ro

You may recall encountering me a gebmer in Book Two.

Here are all the particular forms for use in other situations.


cafaf vy, kefyth jy, kev (or cav) ev, kev (or cav) hy, kev (or cav) + noun subject, kefyn ny, kefowgh why, cafons y


caraf vy, keryth jy (or kerta), car ev, car hy, car + noun subject, keryn ny, kerowgh why, carons y


cresaf vy, cresyth jy, crës ev, crës hy, cresyn ny, cresowgh why, cresons y


deuv (or dov) vy (or deuma), deth jy (or deta), deu ev, deu hy, deu + noun subject, deun ny, dewgh why, downs y


gwelaf vy, gwelyth jy (or gwelta), gwel ev, gwel hy, gwel + noun subject, gwelyn ny, gwelowgh why, gwelons y


kemeraf vy, kemeryth jy (or kemerta), kebmer ev, kebmer hy, kemeryn ny, kemerowgh why, kemerons y


lavaraf vy, leveryth jy (or leverta), lever (or laver) ev, lever (or laver) hy, lever (or laver) + noun subject, leveryn ny, leverowgh why, leverons y


rov vy, reth jy, re (or ro) ev, re (or ro) hy, re (or ro) + noun subject, ren ny, rewgh why, rêns y

As usual, forms introduced by interrogative particle a and negative forms introduced by negative particles ny and na will be in Second State; forms introduced by affirmative particle y will be in Fifth State; and the pronouns vy, jy etc can always be omitted.

The Fifth State forms of dos will already be familiar because they are identical to Fourth State in mar teuv vy etc that we have already learned.

If you wish to use the inflected present-future tense of any other verb, and are unsure how it is formed, you should not hesitate to check in a reference book of grammar.

The ‘he/she’ form tends to be the least predictable. It may be identical (allowing for mutation) to the singular inflected imperative. For example, Gorthyp! ‘Answer!’ and A worthyp ev? ‘Will he answer?’ But the change of stem vowel a (and sometimes stem vowel o) to e that generally occurs in the ‘we’ and ‘you’ (singular and plural) forms and sometimes in the ‘they’ forms can extend to the ‘he/she’ form as well. For example, Na wharth! ‘Don’t laugh!’ but Ny wherth hy. ‘She won’t laugh.’ Verbs with a stem ending in consonantal drop it before the notional ending (now zero) of the ‘he/she’ form. For instance, verb-stem soposy ‘suppose, assume’ but y sopos ev ‘he assumes’. If a monosyllabic verb stem has a long vowel that is not evident in the verb-noun, this will reappear in the ‘he/she’ form. For example, y poon ev ‘he will run’, hy a dÿb ‘she thinks / will think’, yth ÿv an re-ma ‘these will drink’. It can sometimes occur without respelling. For instance, me a dhesk ‘I shall learn’.

Just as when forming verbal adjectives ending in ys we also drop y of the stem before endings yth and yn. For instance, A jeckyth? ‘Will you check?’ and Ny wainyn. ‘We shan’t win’.


Here are three instances of leverta frequently encountered in conversation.

Pandra leverta? ‘What do you mean?’

An gwir a leverta. ‘You’re right.’

Cabm y leverta. ‘You’re wrong.’


Here are some more new words.

consydra consider, kyst box, medhow drunk, intoxicated, minwherthyn smile, pellgôwsel speak by telephone

concydra is an alternative spelling: less faithful etymologically, but reflecting the pronunciation

Practys PymthekExercise Fifteen

Substitute the inflected present-future tense for the italicized verb phrases in each of these sentences. What do the sentences mean?

Pandra esta ow leverel? Ymowns y ow viajya, dell esof ow cresy, in degolyow. A vynta kemeres mynysen rag consydra? Medhow owgh why oll, dell eson ow qweles. Ev a wra cafos neppëth uthyk i’n gyst. Nyns usy hy orth y gara in gwir. Avorow y whrowns y dos. Mar mydnys ry dhybm nyver hy fon, me a yll pellgôwsel orty.

Practys WhêtekExercise Sixteen

Put these sentences into Cornish, employing the inflected present-future tense of the relevant verb with an infixed pronoun to express the direct object where appropriate.

I don’t believe it. Will I see you tomorrow? What’s the man saying? I’ll give them to you as soon as they’re ready (two possibilities). I love her (two possibilities)

Personal forms of inter

Here are the personal forms of preposition inter (intra) ‘between’.

intredhof ‘between me’

intredhos ‘between you’

intredho ‘between him / it’ (masculine reference)

intredhy ‘between her / it’ (feminine reference)

intredhon ‘between us’

intredhowgh ‘between you’ (plural or stranger)

intredhans ‘between them’

The singular forms are used with a following ha ‘and’. For example, intredhof ha’m broder ‘between me and my brother’. But inter my ha’m broder is also perfectly good Cornish.

With nouns the idea ‘among’ is usually expressed by [in] mesk, but ‘among’ is quite commonly the sense of inter in the plural personal forms.

In udn

In udn may be employed with a verb-noun to add an action to a sentence in the form of a descriptive adverbial phrase. In udn is followed by Second State mutation. Here is an example.

“Cudyn vëth!” a leverys in udn vinwherthyn.

“No problem,” I said with a smile.

A verb-noun used in this construction should not be given any object or adverbial phrases of its own. So this construction is not a way to link sentences together. It is confined to turning the verb-noun as a stand-alone word into a descriptive adverb.


Here are some more new words.

brusy judge, assess, conclûdya conclude (a discussion), kenertha boost, encourage, main medium, means, nôten note, memo, studh condition, state, wolcùbma welcome

 yn uhel means ‘loudly’ or ‘aloud’ according to context

Practys SeytekExercise Seventeen

Yma Lily Goss, pendescadores an scol elvednek, ow metya gans Powl Tonkin, yw caderyor an lewydhyon, rag surhe pùptra dhe vos parys dhe’n vledhen academyk nowyth. Hy a wrug nôten got intredhans a’n lies poynt. Wàr dhyweth an metyans yma hy ow redya an nôten yn uhel in udn gonclûdya. Otta radn anedhy.

’Fëdh istory deskys hevleny dvK.

Scrifas P dhe bùb teylu a’n K-strem.

CL a wovyn ort KCD brusy present studh dyscans dvK.

KCD a gonsyder nessa stappys.

CL a wolcùm Rowe dre lyther personek ha kenertha.

Rapid notes typically employ abbreviations. Here are those used by Ms Goss.


dre vain Kernowek ‘through the medium of Cornish’


Pendescadores ‘Head Teacher’


Strem Kernowek ‘The pupils who are taught certain subjects in Cornish’


Caderyor an Lewydhyon ‘Chair of Governors’


Kessedhek Cors Desky ‘Curriculum Committee of the Board of Governors’

Impersonal present-future

Originally the present-future tense had an impersonal (or ‘autonomous’) form, meaning ‘one does’ or ‘one will do’ the action of the verb. But these forms fell out of use, except for a few that still survive.

The impersonal form belonging to cafos is kefyr, and this is commonly employed to mean ‘[there] is available’ or ‘[there] will be available’ in written contexts. For example, Y kefyr tê ha coffy ‘Tea and coffee will be provided’ in an announcement about a meeting.

The impersonal form godhyr belonging to godhvos occurs in the phrase dell wodhyr ‘as everyone knows’, which sometimes approaches the sense ‘of course’.

The impersonal form gwelyr belonging to gweles is employed, without a particle, in cross-references: for instance, gwelyr folen 23 ‘see page 23’.

Gallos too has a commonly used impersonal form. This is gyller: for example, A yller gwil fôtôs? ‘Is photography permitted?’

Infixed pronouns as indirect object: other instances

Wharvos ‘happen’ takes preposition dhe to show the person affected by the event. For example, pandra wharva dhis? ‘what happened to you?’ But an infixed pronoun may also be used with inflected forms of this verb: pëth a’th wharva? ‘what happened to you?’

Ny’m deur is a phrase meaning ‘it’s nothing to do with me’. The infixed pronoun is probably best seen as an indirect object; and it can be changed. For example, ny’th teur ‘it’s nothing to do with you’, ny’gan deur ‘it’s nothing to do with us’. If we wish to say what is nothing to do with me etc, we add it after preposition a. Most frequently, just ny’m deur a hedna ‘that’s nothing to do with me’. In literature we may also encounter this verb used in affirmative sentences.

In Lesson Eleven we shall meet further common situations where an infixed pronoun may be used as an indirect object.


Here are some more new words.

adran f adradnow department, agria agree, astevery compensate (for), reimburse, bojet m bojettys budget, hùmbrynkyas leader, head (of department etc), sowyn prosperous, successful

còst is a ‘cost’; còst spênys is an ‘expense’

termyn means ‘time’; it is also used for ‘term’ in the academic sense

Practys ÊtekExercise Eighteen

On the first day of the new school term Demelsa is given a message from the Head Teacher of her secondary school.

Dhe: Demelsa Pentreath, Wheffes Class

A Demelsa wheg,

I’n dewetha Termyn eus passys, ny a rug acordya dr’osta jy poyntys caderyor dhe Gowethas a’n tavas Kernowek i’gan Scol rag an vledhen academyk nowyth. Me a bejas orth Mêster Mundy, hùmbrynkyas Adran an Sowsnek, a vos omgemerys rag an Gowethas-ma. Ev ew cowsor a’n Kernowek ha me na’n jeves dowt vëth ter rewgh why kesobery tredhowgh yn tâ. Mêster Mundy a vydn metya gena jy in kensa seythen an Termyn-ma. Gra agria ganjo kessedhek a studhyoryon ha gorra towlen warbarth a dhyvers wharvedhyans. ’Kefyr bojet bian rag astevery costys spênys. In cowethas sowyn me a gebmer meur les.

Gèn gormynadow a’n gwelha,

Alson Combellack


Colloquial Cornish

In Book Two we noted that the Head Teacher of Demelsa’s school speaks quite colloquially. This affects her written style too. Contrast the style of Lily Goss at Danyel’s school. Look in particular in Alson Combellack’s letter at me na’n jeves dowt vëth ter rewgh why kesobery tredhowgh yn tâ. In more formal Cornish this would be ny’m beus dowt vëth fatell wrewgh why kesobery [intredhowgh] yn tâ. Declaring the first of these formulations (me na’n jeves) ‘ungrammatical’ is not the correct approach. It is clear from our historical evidence that forms of y’m beus can be used very flexibly in practice.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Four

Click or tap here





Medhes ‘say’ is found only rarely as a verb-noun. It does however have a few inflected present forms, which are used with both present and 'vivid preterite' meaning in conjunction with direct speech (that is, dialogue – usually punctuated with quotation marks) in stories and other writing. This usage is optional: forms of leverel can be employed instead.

Here are the forms of medhes.

yn medhaf vy ‘I say / said’

yn medh ev ‘he says / said’

yn medh hy ‘she says / said’

yn medh + noun subject ‘noun says / said’

yn medhans y ‘they say / said’

Introductory particle yn is unique to this verb and does not cause mutation. It is sometimes left out. The pronouns vy, ev, hy can always be omitted, as usual. For yn medhans y there is a colloquial alternative medh anjy.


Here are some more new words.

argraf impression, gwrians action, minwharth smile, whor sister

Practys NawnjekExercise Nineteen

We should quickly revise how to express possession before moving on. Give as many different ways as you can of expressing each of these sentences in Cornish.

He has four sisters. We have three kids and a dog. She has a beautiful smile. I had a headache. This solicitor has many clients. Will the new society have a budget? Does Mrs Rowe have a good impression of her class? I don’t have a car. Didn’t he have a ticket? They won’t have much time.


Hevelly means ‘seem’. It can also be used with a direct object and the preposition dhe to mean ‘liken something to’ or ‘compare something with ’. As well as the verb-noun we find a verbal adjective hevellys ‘likened, compared’. But inflected forms only exist in the third person singular; though we can as usual employ the third person singular form after relative particle a with any fronted grammatical subject.

Here are some examples.

Yth hevel hedna fur.

That seems sensible.

Yth hevelly gwrians muscok.

It seemed a crazy thing to do.

Ev a hevelly y honen dhe dhescador.

He likened himself to a teacher.

A form like me a hevelly can also mean ‘it seemed to me’. We encountered dell hevel dhybm ‘it seems to me’ or ‘in my opinion’ in Book Two. Dell hevel on its own means ‘apparently’.


Here are some more new words.

assentya agree (to something), confyrmya confirm, cùssul (piece of) advice, gre rank, status, gwil mêstry wàr dominate, is-caderyor vice-chair[person], kessedhegor committee member, ledan broad, wide, lordya domineer, mellyans interference, neythy nest, nestle, omborth reydhek gender balance, overweles supervise, perswâdya persuade, convince, scryvynyas secretary, showya show

Verbal adjective neythys is commonly found in the sense ‘embedded’.

Practys UgansExercise Twenty

Yma Demelsa ow covyn orth hy hothman Alys Howell mar mydn hy bos scryvynyas dhe’n gowethas nowyth a’n tavas Kernowek.


An bendescadores a wrug confyrmya me dhe vos caderyor dhe’n gowethas Kernowek hevleny. Cals a whel vëdh hedna, mès yth yw dâ genef ry dhe’n tavas neb gwell gre i’n Scol. A vydnys jy bos scryvynyas martesen rag gwil gweres orth oll an arayans? Mêster Mundy a wra gàn overweles, saw y fëdh kessedhek kefrës – cubmyas a’gan beus – ha whensys ov vy dhe showya fatell wor studhyoryon trevna pùptra heb re a vellyans dhort an dhescadoryon.


Pyw a vëdh i’n kessedhek? Re bo pobel a vëdh parys teg dhe vos gwythresek.


Wèl, an gessedhegoryon, me a hevel bos res dhedhans oll dhe gôwsel Kernowek, heb mar. “Kebmer udn person, maw py mowes, in pùb Bledhen rag surhe argemydnans ledan,” yn medh Mundy, “ha rag bos canel dhe lies tybyans vas.”


Dâ lowr. Otham dhe ny perswâdya maw gwyw dhe vos is-caderyor. Ny yllyn soweny heb omborth reydhek. Nebonen mes a Nessa Bledhen an Wheffes Class pàr hap, poken yth hevel an dra re neythys i’gan Bledhen ny.


Assentys. Mar kyllyn ny cafos neb na garsa gwil mêstry in udn lordya. Me a vydn pesy cùssul orth Mundy.

When two nouns that make a natural pair are presented as alternatives we often replace ‘or’ with py ‘or’ (not to be confused with py ‘which, what’ or py ‘where’).

Note how an dra (literally ‘the thing’) is often used idiomatically to mean simply ‘it’. It is especially useful after prepositions to avoid an inflected form that could be ambiguous. For example adro dhe’n dra ‘about it’ is clearer than adro dhodho which might possibly mean ‘around him’.

Imperfect subjunctive of bos

The imperfect subjunctive of bos is mostly used to indicate that something is or was or will be a possibility. But a relatively remote one. ‘Imperfect subjunctive’ is an old name based on Latin grammar. The label is not particularly helpful because time is not relevant. We use the imperfect subjuntive to express remote possibility regardless of whether that is in the present, the past, or the future.

Here are the forms. It is very common to omit the pronouns vy, jy etc with the imperfect subjunctive. They are nearly always omitted when the same grammatical subject is specified in another clause of the same sentence.

ben vy, bes jy (or besta), be ev, be hy, be + noun subject, ben ny, bewgh why, bêns y

Colloquially we sometimes find the imperfect subjuntive of bos substituted for the present subjunctive. The we-forms are in any case identical.

‘If only’ wishes

We can use the imperfect subjunctive of bos to express a wish that is unlikely to be fulfilled or can no longer be fulfilled. For example A pe unweyth dhèm eskelly! which can mean either ‘I wish I had wings!’ or ‘If only I’d had wings!’ In such expressions the first word is a. This word meaning ‘if’ is confined to remote possibilities. It is followed by Fourth State mutation. Note how unweyth (literally ‘once’) in this construction means ‘only’.

It is often possible to employ either a personal construction or to phrase the wish using invariable a pe followed by an infinitive construction or a bos construction. So the following all mean ‘I wish you were stronger’.

A pes unweyth creffa!

A pe (or just Pe) unweyth te dhe vos creffa!

A pe (or just Pe) unweyth dha vos creffa!

A pe (or just Pe) unweyth y bosta creffa!

It is common in conversational Cornish to reduce a pe unweyth to just pe unweyth when it is used impersonally in this way.

For a negative ‘if only’ wish we may likewise use a personal or an impersonal construction. The negative equivalent of is na, which is followed by Second State.

Here are a couple of examples.

Na ves unweyth pòr vysy!

I wish you weren’t so busy!

Unweyth na ve my dhe viajya ganso dhe Wordhen!

If only I hadn’t travelled with him to Ireland!


Here are some more new words.

adamant diamond, ankevy forget, darlêsa broadcast, dyswil spoil, gow lying (falsehood), in kerdh away (motion), kevarhewy invest, scattya (also sqwattya) smash, towl plan (also throw)

Practys Onen warn UgansExercise Twenty One

What do these ‘if only’ wishes mean?

A pen ny unweyth in Trûrû de! A pêns unweyth adamantys! Pe unweyth moy perthyans dhis! A pe unweyth mona lowr! Pe unweyth y dhe wolsowes! A pen vy unweyth le tew! A pe unweyth na ve gwerryans i’n bÿs! Pe unweyth hebma dhe vos an gwir! A pe unweyth y dhe brena pàn o iselha an pris! A pe unweyth my dhe wodhvos kyns ès kevarhewy!

Subjunctive of mydnas, gwil, godhvos, gallos

Originally every verb had separate present and imperfect forms. But many of them became indistinguishable as a result of sound-changes, and it is now best to think of Cornish verbs (except bos) as having a single subjunctive based on the original imperfect forms, sometimes with a few alternative forms that once belonged specifically to the present subjunctive.

Here are the subjunctive forms of mydnas, gwil, godhvos, gallos.


mednen (or mydnyf) vy, mednes (or mynhy) jy, mydna (or mynha) ev, mydna (or mynha) hy, mydna or mynha + noun subject, mednyn ny, mednowgh why, mednons y


gwrellen (or gwryllyf) vy, gwrelles (or gwrylly) jy, gwrella ev, gwrella hy, gwrella + noun subject, gwrellen ny, gwrellowgh why, gwrellons y


gothfen vy, gothfes jy, gothfa ev, gothfa hy, gothfa + noun subject, gothfen ny, gothfowgh why, gothfens y


gallen vy, galles (or gylly) jy, galla ev, galla hy, galla + noun subject, gallon ny, gallowgh why, gallons y

It is very common to omit the pronouns vy, jy etc with the subjunctive. They are nearly always omitted when the same grammatical subject is specified in another clause of the same sentence. Some speakers pronounce the double letter l in the alternative subjunctive forms gwryllyf, gwrylly, gylly as lh, and this may be reflected in the spelling: gwrylhyf etc.

Negative ‘if only’ with second subjunctive

We can use these subjunctives after [a] pe na to make negative ‘if only’ wishes when the verb of the wish is not bos.

Here are some examples.

Pe unweyth na vednes gwil hedna!

I wish you wouldn’t do that!

Pe unweyth na wrella ev scattya pùpprës y garr!

If only he wouldn’t crash his car every time!

Pe unweyth na wrella ev ankevy hy fedn bloodh!

If only he hadn’t forgotten her birthday!

Practys Dew warn UgansExercise Twenty Two

What do these ‘if only’ wishes mean?

A pe unweyth na vednes mos pòr venowgh in kerdh! Pe unweyth na vednewgh dyswil ow thowlow! Pe unweyth na wrellewgh debry kebmys chocklet kyns kydnyow! Pe unweyth na alla ev darlêsa kebmys gow dre vainys socyal. Pe unweyth na wothfens ple esoma trigys!

Saying ‘important’

Some languages (German, for example) associate importance with weight. But in traditional Cornish the association is with value. We therefore generally render ‘important’ as a bris or meur y bris. The latter expression will change as required: meur hy fris, meur aga fris etc. Pris is used here in its sense of ‘prize’ rather than commercial price. When, however, we wish to say ‘it is (was, will be) important’ to do something, we employ a fixed expression bysy yw (bysy o, bysy vëdh) + verb-noun. Bysy in this sense is only found in this construction.


Here are some more new words.

auctoryta authority, gwel (open) field, lybm sharp, naha deny (also refuse), prest all the time, roos net, sêson season, spâss opportunity (also space), udnya unite

in nes is a compound preposition used with nouns as an alternative to ogas dhe

Practys Try warn UgansExercise Twenty Three

Yma Mêster Teague ow metya gans Mark kyns an kensa dohajëdh a bel droos i’n Êthves Bledhen.

Mêster Teague:

Now, Mark, pandr’yw dha borpos rag an bel droos i’n Termyn nowyth-ma?


Me a garsa bos capten an Kensa XI kepar dell en vy warleny.

Mêster Teague:

Hèn yw pòr dhâ. Saw res yw gwil spâss dhe re erel kefrës. Nyns yw an parra lybm lowr in cres an gwel i’n tor’-ma. Tybys oma a ry soodh an capten dhe Neil Sullivan rag an gwary gèn an Nessa XI hedhyw, ha dhe’n kensa fyt a’n sêson de Merher a dheu.


Saw ny veu gôlyow Neil warleny ma’s hanter ow nùmber vy!

Mêster Teague:

Bysy yw scorya. Ny yller naha. Ha ty yw crev in nes an roos. Mès Neil a’n jeves talent rag restry cres an gwel, ha me a garsa ry dhodho ena brâssa auctoryta.


Na nyns usy ev ow côwsel Kernowek, saw very nebes geryow. A pe pùb huny dhe wodhvos Kernowek, ha ny abyl dhana dhe vos parra udnyes in udn tavas!

Mêster Teague:

Ny’m deur màn a hedna. Sleyneth orth an bel, codnek wàr an gwel, gwainya moyha gallon, ot an dra yw prest a bris.

Moyha gallon means ‘as much as we can’. The construction is comparative adjective (or superlative in those few cases where a separate form exists) + present-future or imperfect of gallos (according to sense) in First State without a particle. But the subjunctive may optionally be employed when there is future reference.

Here are a few more examples.

Why a wrug gwelha gyllewgh.

You did the best you could.

An ky a vydn ponya scaffa gyll (galla).

The dog will run as fast as it can.

Gwra lebmel uhelha gyllyth (gylly, gylhy).

Jump as high as you can.

Tra is both a countable and an uncountable noun. So ot an dra yw means the same as ot an pëth yw, namely ‘that’s what is’. We can say kebmys tra or kebmys taclow, likewise nebes tra or nebes taclow, with much the same meaning in each case.

Taking care with cres

In Book Two, Lesson Thirteen we examined compound prepositions, and encountered in cres ‘in the middle of’. It is one of those compound prepositions that are technically the first half of a genitive construction. Hence, for example, in cres an gwel ‘in the middle of the field’ or ‘in [the] midfield’. But there are two words cres in Cornish. The other cres means ‘peace’, and in cres used without a following noun means ‘in peace’. For instance, gesowgh in cres ‘do not disturb’.

In English we may say ‘in the middle’ without specifying the middle of what. But in Cornish we should be very cautious about using an adverbial expression i’n cres with this meaning. It could very easily be heard as in cres ‘in peace’. We should generally prefer to use the preposition, saying in cres an dra, in cres an tyller / plâss, in cres anodhans etc. Compare an keth tra or an keth hedna ‘the same’, avoiding confusion with an keth ‘the slave’ (Book Two, Lesson One).

Purpose clause

A purpose clause in English is one introduced by ‘in order that’, or by ‘so that’ (sometimes just ‘so’) when this phrase means the same thing. In old Latin-based grammar a purpose clause was called a ‘final clause’ but we generally avoid this name now because it depends on understanding an ‘end’ as a purpose, which is not the usual sense in modern English.

In Cornish a purpose clause is introduced by rag may. This is immediately followed by the verb in Fifth State. If the purpose clause is negative, we introduce it with rag na which is immediately followed by the verb in Second State. In either case, the verb must be in the subjunctive.

For verbs other than bos, we most commonly form the subjunctive in a purpose clause with gallos. But gwil is often employed in more formal Cornish. Idiomatically mydnas is used as well.

If the verb in the purpose clause is bos, we must also choose present subjunctive or imperfect subjunctive. We use the present subjunctive when the main verb of the sentence is present or future. We use the imperfect subjunctive when the main verb of the sentence is past.

Here are some examples.

Deus gans dha gothman nowyth rag may hallon y vetya.

Bring with your new friend so that we can meet him.

Y coodh dhyn prena shampên rag may whrella pùbonen gôlya hy spêda dhâ.

We should buy champagne so that everyone may celebrate her success.

Gwysk brodnlen dhe’n baby rag na vydna glavorya wàr y dhyllas glân.

Put a bib on the baby so he doesn’t dribble on his clean clothes.

Ev a wrug trùssa sagh kyns ès mos dhe’n gwely, rag may fêns parys dhe dhybarth ternos avarr.

He packed a bag before going to bed, in order that they might be ready to leave first thing in the morning.

The subject of a rag may clause is usually different from the subject of the main verb, If there is no change of subject we mostly use just rag + verb-noun. But there is no alternative to a rag na clause.

In poetical language rag may be omitted, in which case the context must supply the idea of purpose.


Here are some more new words.

angra anger, arvrusy assess, ascor produce, caskergh campaign, caus cause, colonecter bravery (also heartiness), dastesînya redesign, godorrva f interruption, gov smith, governans government, helavarder eloquence, kevadran faculty (at university), lêdya lead, martyr martyr, merwel die, ombredery consider, reflect upon, onora honour, paryster readiness, pay, pyssîn (= poll neyja; also fishpond), revolûcyon revolution, sant course, dish, Scotland Scotland, serry anger, shyndya harm, soudor soldier, sowndya sound out, tastya taste, toll f tollow tax (also toll), whêldro revolution

Kervyans means ‘carving’. It needs a context. It may be used in the sense of sculpture. But also of a restaurant carvery.

Practys Peswar warn UgansExercise Twenty Four

What do these Cornish sentences mean?

Ny a vydn merwel rag may hallowgh bêwa. Hy a lanwas an pyssîn rag may fydna an flehes neyja pùb jorna a’n hâv. An boosty a wrug dastesînya rol an vytel rag may whrella cliens tastya ascor gwir a Gernow in pùb sant. Yth esof vy dre vrâs ow mos dhe lyverva an gevadran rag na vo godorrva dhe’m studhyans. Res o cudha oll an kervyans treth rag na wrella an glaw aga shyndya.

Practys Pymp warn UgansExercise Twenty Five

Yma Mêstres Rowe ow metya kensa tro gans class an strem Kernowek i’n Pympes Bledhen. Hy a garsa trouvya pandra wor an class solabrës a’n Gov, Michael Joseph. Hag arvrusy ableth an class ombredery an taclow a wharva i’n termyn eus passys. Inwedh, yma hy orth y wil rag may halla sowndya helavarder an class.

Mêstres Rowe:

An vledhen o 1497. Ha’n mytern o an Seythves Harry. Ha prag y whrug kebmys Kernowyon kerdhes tryhans mildir dhe Loundres i’n dedhyow-na?

Kensa Scolor:

Rag dysqwedhes nag o an mytern dâ gansans wàr neb cor.

Nessa Scolor:

Rag dallath revolûcyon wàr y bydn.

Mêstres Rowe:

In gwrioneth? A wodhya nebes milyow a dus kebmyn gwil whêldro i’n vaner-na? Heb bos soudoryon?

Tressa Scolor:

Serrys êns y. Ny garsens y pê tollow vëth dhe’n governans Sowsnek.


Me a grës an Gernowyon dhe vos lel dhe’n mytern. Mès engrys êns awos an governans dhe gafos tollow a Gernow rag caskergh may fe tylys warbydn Scotland.

Mêstres Rowe:

Ha prag y fydnyn ny perthy cov a’n wharvedhyans hedhyw whath, wosa lies lies bledhen?

Nessa Scolor:

Rag onora martyrs a Gernow.

Tressa Scolor:

Rag remembra nefra na dheu prow dhe Gernow mes a’n governans in Loundres.


Dre rêson – martesen – ny dhe vos prowt a golonecter an Gov? A’n paryster lêdya tus in caus gwiryon ha dhe les pùb huny a Gernow?

Note that, though the verb must directly follow rag may or rag na, it is possible to put any noun subject of the purpose clause between rag and may / na.

This does however change the grammar. If the subject is plural, the verb after may / na must be changed to the third person plural (they) form. For instance, me a dhros sagh a has rag an flehes may hallons y boosa an ÿdhyn ‘I brought a bag of seeds so that the children could feed the birds’ (literally ‘I bought a bag of seeds for the children that they might be able to feed the birds’).

The same thing happens when we move a noun subject in front of dell. Compare my a leverys dell esa an flehes ow qwary with (more formal, but common) my a leverys an flehes dell esens y ow qwary ‘I said that the children were playing’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Five

Click or tap here




Habitual imperfect of bos

In Book Two we learned the copula (short form) imperfect tense of bos, after encountering its commonest form early in Book One. We learned the local (long form) imperfect tense too. Now we should note that bos also has an habitual imperfect tense. Here it is.

bedhen vy, bedhes jy, bedha ev, bedha hy, bedha + noun subject, bedhen ny, bedhewgh why, bedhens y

As usual, the pronouns vyjy etc can be omitted. And, as always, it is exclusively the ev / hy forms that are used when the grammatical subject precedes the verb.

As usual, forms preceded by interrogative particle a or link particle a and negative forms introduced by negative particles ny and na will be in Second State; forms preceded by affirmative particle will be in Fifth State.

The habitual imperfect tense of bos may be substituted for either the copula imperfect tense or the local imperfect tense when referring to an habitual state of affairs or an habitual action in the past. Compare the change was to used to be or would be in English. We also use the habitual imperfect tense when we are referring to ‘future in the past’.

Here are some examples.

Sqwith vedhen vy pùb gordhuwher i’n dedhyow-na drefen ow soodh gales.

I used to be tired every evening in those days because of my difficult job.

Ev a vedha i’n gwely kyns deg eur solabrës, pùb nos heb faladow.

He would already be in bed by ten o’clock, every night without exception. 

Y fedhen vy ow mos dhe’n tavern yn rêwlys kyns kydnyow de Sul pàn o dha vroder an ost ena.

I used to go to the pub regularly on Sundays before dinner when your brother was the landlord there.

Hy a leverys na vedha Kernowek tavas bew erna ve lies mil gowsor.

She said that Cornish would not be a living language until there were many thousands of speakers.

The last example also illustrates how the imperfect subjunctive of bos is used as a ‘present subjunctive in the past’. Her actual words were “Ny vëdh Kernowek tavas bew erna vo lies mil gowsor.”

Habitual imperfect tense of y’m beus

Here is the habitual imperfect tense of y’m beus. All quite predictable.

y’m bedha, y’ fedha, y’n jevedha, y’s tevedha, y’gan bedha, y’gas bedha, y’s tevedha

And here are a couple of examples of the habitual imperfect of y’m beus etc.

A’gas bedha gorras dhe’n scol?

Did you used to get a lift to school?

Hy a leverys sur na’gan bedha trial ewn.

She said we surely wouldn’t get a fair trial. 

Particle nans

The particle nans has the sense ‘by now’. It is only used with verb forms yw and o. It can mean ‘ago’ when associated with something that happened in the past. It may correspond to a time phrase introduced in English by the preposition ‘for’. Or there may be other English equivalents.

Here are some examples. You should study carefully the logic of the time relationship between the two parts of each of these sentences. And the tenses that are used to express those relationships. English is of limited help here. You must think in Cornish.

Me a dhalathas desky Kernowek nans yw dyw vledhen.

I began learning Cornish two years ago.

Nans yw pell te a wrug promys teg dhybm.

You made me a lovely promise a long time ago.

Nans yw termyn hir na wrug vy dha weles.

I haven’t seen you for ages.

Nans o termyn hir na’s gwelys hy. (illustrating a high style)

It was long since I had beheld her.

Me a wor côwsel Kernowek nans yw pell.

I’ve known how to speak Cornish for a long time now.

Th’eroma tregys in Kernow nanj ew oll ow bôwnans vy.  (illustrating how nanj may replace nans in more colloquial registers)

I’ve lived in Cornwall all my life.

Cothman o va dhybm nans o lies bledhen alebma.

He had been my friend now for many years.

Y fedhens y ow qwary golf warbarth nans o termyn pell.

They had been used to playing golf together for a long time now.

The use of nans without some expression of time is regarded as archaic.

Crows Jesus nânj o parys,

y êth dh’y ladha yn scon. (Passyon agan Arlùth, 160)

Now that Jesus’s cross was ready, they quickly proceeded to execute him.

This example shows that nans may optionally be pronounced with the same vowel sound as in brâs, but the spelling nânj with diacritical mark is not standard.

Na fors

Na fors means ‘no matter’ in the sense ‘it doesn’t matter’. It can be used on its own or before a question word.

Here are some examples.

na fors ple whrug ev mos ‘no matter where he went’

na fors peur fo an poyntyans ‘no matter when the appointment will be’

na fors py fordh a vednowgh ûsya ‘no matter which method you use’

Any verb will be subjunctive (present subjunctive in the case of bos) if it refers to the present or the future.


Here are some more new words.

a’n tu’vês from outside, external, a’y sav standing, stood, arethorieth oratory, arfedhor employer, compla (also campolla) mention, cùntellyans assembly, meeting (also collection), dadhla discuss, debate, dalva debate, debâtya debate, dydhemedhyans divorce, dyscryjyk sceptical, God spêda dhis! Good luck! gwil mêstry a master, gwythres m activity, hùmbrank lead, kesstrîf competition, keworra add, olas m & f hearth, ôstyas guest, plêdya plead, argue, plêsya please, possybyl possible, practycya practise, promyssya promise, rêwlya control, servys service, sodhak officer, official, styrya explain, wardhegor teenager, wordhy worthy, yowynkes youth

Practys Whe warn UgansExercise Twenty Six

Perys Pentreath, tas Demelsa, yw sodhak orth Consel Kernow. Ev a wrug promyssya gwil cùssulyow dhe’n gowethas nowyth a’n tavas Kernowek.


Agan kessedhek a vetyas de. Th’esen ny ow côwsel lowr, ’whrussyn ervira very nebes. Saw colon Mêster Mundy yw tobm rag trevna dadhlow. ’Wosta? Debâtya.


Marth vëth. A nyns usy va lebmyn owth hùmbrank agas Adran Sowsnek? Brian Mundy ha Cattern y wreg re beu cothmans dhèm nans yw pell alebma. Y fedhen vy ow vysytya aga chy, traweythyow, warlergh an dydhemedhyans, pàn o taclow calassa dhèm.


Dell na vydnyn ny talkya a hedna …


Dell yw gwir … Now, y hyller gwil dyw ehen debâtyans. Kensa, in kesstrîf gèn an scoloryon tredh anjy gà honen. Rag practycya arethorieth Kernowek. Na fors pan testednow. Kenyver tra a vo dhe les in mesk wardhegoryon. Nessa, gans arethoryon a’n tu’vês, neb a vëdh gelwys dhe’n Scol rag may hallons dadhla stât an Kernowek hedhyw, orth an olas hag i’n bêwnans poblek.


Eâ. Arethorieth a dal plêsya Mundy. Saw me a garsa cafos ôstysy wyw, heb y weres eev, mara callam. A vydnys dhejy dones dhyn udn dro martesen?


Sur. Te a yll trevna dalva adro dhe’n Kernowek in whel ha servycyow Consel Kernow – prag na? Ny allama plêdya warbydn ow arfedhor vy. Mès my a yll styrya pandr’yw possybyl heb cudyn brâs, ha compla gwythresow nag yw êsy màn dh’aga chaunjya. Dâ vëdh dadhla gans dew pò try ôstyas aral, ha’n Leur ow qwil qwestyons, ow keworra geryow. Nyns eus whans vëth dhybm bos a’m sav ow honen oll arâg rûth a yowynkes dyscryjyk ha meur y dros!


Dyscryjyk vedhons y – pàr hap. Meur aga thros – nâ, nefra. Ny vadnaf alowa. Remember, me yw an caderyor.


Wèl, rêwlya cùntellyans, yth yw sleyneth wordhy a wil mêstry abrës anodho. God spêda dhis!

dhejy is the more emphatic form of jy – see Lesson Ten

Bones is an alternative form of bos; mones is an alternative form of mos; and dones is an alternative form of dos. Some speakers are rather fond of these forms; but others regard them as an affectation. Note the alternatives are not used after prepositions, and bones may not introduce indirect statement. The alternative forms are occasionally useful to help the rhythm of a sentence or to give greater prominence to the word.

Dos had two further alternatives forms, devos and devones, but these are not generally found in revived Cornish.

Dalva ‘dispute’ or ‘debate’ is an example of suffix va (essentially, ‘place’ for something) operating to yield a more abstract sense. There are many such instances: cabûlva ‘medley’ or ‘muddle’, diankva ‘escapism’, trailva ‘transition’, etc. In dyberthva ‘distinction’ (also hospital ‘ward’) we see an alternative form of dybarth.

Contrast gwil mêstry a ‘master (something)’ with gwil mêstry wàr ‘dominate (someone)’.

Imperfect of mydnas, gwil

Most verbs possess an inflected imperfect tense that is confined almost entirely to literature (poetry and, to a lesser extent, prose). We shall learn it in Lesson Twelve. Meanwhile we may note there are just four verbs that have an imperfect tense frequently encountered in ordinary registers. These are mydnas, gwil, godhvos, gallos. We learned the imperfect tense of godhvos and gallos in Book One. Here are all the imperfect forms of the other two verbs.


mydnen vy, mydnes jy, mydna ev, mydna hy, mydna + noun subject, mydnen ny, mydnewgh why, mydnens y


gwren vy, gwres jy, gwre ev, gwre hy, gwre + noun subject, gwren ny, gwrewgh why, gwrêns y

As usual, we may omit the pronouns vy, jy etc. Gwren ny and gwrewgh why could equally be present-future tense or imperfect tense, so they must be used carefully in context to ensure the meaning is clear.

As usual, forms preceded by interrogative particle a or link particle a and negative forms introduced by negative particles ny and na will be in Second State; forms preceded by affirmative particle will be in Fifth State.

It is worth observing that e in the ending ewgh of the imperfect tense is quite unstable. It has a tendency to shift to owgh in words of more than one syllable. Compare godhyowgh instead of original godhyewgh – for godhvos we prefer the first spelling because in that instance no confusion with the present tense can arise.

We can use the imperfect of gwil as an alternative way to form the imperfect tense for other verbs. So for example yth esen vy ow prena croust i’n popty ‘I was buying a snack at the bakery’ and me a vedha ow prena an croust i’n popty ‘I used to buy a snack at the bakery’ can both be expressed instead as me a wre prena croust i’n popty. This is however a literary construction; it is rare in conversational Cornish.

The imperfect of gwil can express a past habitual sense. For example, ow thas a wre gortos an bùss obma pùb myttyn ‘my father used to wait here for the bus every morning’.

In idiomatic Cornish you can express a past habitual sense for any verb by employing the formula me a wrug ûsya + verb-noun. For example, Mabm a wrug ûsya dos ha vysytya, mès hy yw lebmyn re glâv a’y fakel mellow rag mos in mes a’n chy ‘Mum used to come visiting, but nowadays she’s too ill with her arthritis to leave the house’.

We also employ the imperfect tenses of mydnas and gwil to form a ‘future in the past’ for other verbs. For example, y a lavaras tell vydnens y encressya pris an ragpren ‘they said they would increase the subscription price’. What they actually said was “Ny a vydn encressya pris an ragpren.” Or hy a redyas an hens horn dell wre astel ober nessa seythen ‘she read that the railway would be on strike next week’. The words she actually read were “An hens horn a wra astel ober nessa seythen.”


Here are some more new words.

Dowr Cober the River Cober, gwarak arch (also bow), hës length, hirder length, leek local, mêter metre (length), Nans Agolen Nancegollan, ponsfordh viaduct, Pras Praze, pryva private, sawya conserve, tro vian excursion, vysytyor visitor

Practys Seyth warn UgansExercise Twenty Seven

Nans yw termyn pell yth esa gorsaf hens horn in Hellës. Y fedha an trainow ow sevel in Nans Agolen ha Pras, ha’n lînen leek ow jùnya dhe’n hens brâs usy inter Trûrû ha Penzans. An dhesînoryon a wodhya, pàn wrussons y tôwlel towl a’n lînen, fatell wre ponsfordh dres Dowr Cober kemeres radn larj a’n bojet. Hirder an ‘Lowertown Viaduct’­-ma yw 114 mêter hag y’s teves whe gwarak.

An lînen a veu degës in 1962. I’n jëdh hedhyw yma cowethas pryva rag sawya an lînen, ha bys i’n eur-ma yth yw nebes hës restorys, ha hebma owth alowa dhe vysytyoryon gwil tro vian warnodho.

Sawya means ‘conserve’ with a direct object; but as we learned in Book Two the meaning is ‘recover (after illness)’ when the verb is used without an object.

Saying 'stand'

Contrast bos a’m sav in Exercise 26 with sevel in Exercise 27. Sevel is an eventive verb meaning ‘stand’ in the sense of ‘taking up a standing position’, which can sometimes be the equivalent of ‘come to a standstill, stop’. Bos a’y sav is a stative concept: to be standing or stood’.

More about bys

The preposition bys ‘up to, until’ occurs with dy ‘[to] there’, either as bys dy or bys ty (compare ogasty ‘almost’), meaning ‘to that place’ or ‘up to that point’. Likewise bys obma ‘up to this point’. It occurs in the fixed phrase bys nefra ‘for ever’; and its older equivalents bys vycken, bys venary and bys venytha. And it forms the compound conjunctions bys pàn and bys may, both ‘until’. Its use before a numeral is particularly common with clock times. For example, gorta bys peder eur! ‘wait till four o’clock!’

Also common are the fixed expressions bys i’n eur-ma ‘up to now, until now’ and bys i’n eur-na ‘until then’. The phrase bys lebmyn is occasionally encountered in revived Cornish, but this is an over-literal translation of English ‘until now’ and is best avoided.

Bys pedn may be used instead of rag to express duration. For instance, mil bens a vëdh lowr bys pedn tremis ‘a thousand pounds will last for three months’.


Here are some more new words.

chalynj challenge, Chy an Kenwerth The Chamber of Commerce, comodyta commodity (also facility), cosmer customer, drog-aqwytya be ungrateful, experyens experience, feth m & f fact, gedyans guidance, heweres helpful, kestalkya have a chat, laha law, launchya launch, mentêna maintain, keep, myssyon mission, profyt profit, project project, radyô radio, sort sort, kind, ternos vyttyn next / tomorrow morning, trevna organize, unverhe agree unanimously

cows may be used as a verb-noun colloquially instead of côwsel

Practys Eth warn UgansExercise Twenty Eight

Applying the rule of sequence of tenses, convert each of the following direct statements into an indirect statement beginning with An radyô a dherivys fatell ‘It was reported on the radio that ...’ Once the sentences have been converted, what do they mean?

An penvenyster a vydn vysytya Kernow nessa seythen. Y fëdh nessa myssyon NASA parys dhe launchya scon. Prîsyow an hens horn a wra cressya unweyth arta. Udn lyverva moy a vydn degea kyn pedn an vledhen. Y whra glaw ternos vyttyn.

Practys Naw warn UgansExercise Twenty Nine

Yma Elen ha Powl ow kescôwsel a’n Gowethas nowyth mayth yw Demelsa caderyor anedhy.

Elen :

Demelsa a wrug pesy orth Perys a dhos dhe onen a’n dadhlow a garsa hy trevna. Martesen y hyllyth dhejy profya neppëth a vëdh heweres dhedhy.


Mos dhe dhalva i’n scol?


Nyns eus otham a hedna in gwrioneth. Ty a yll gwil dhedhy kestaf gans Chy an Kenwerth. Rag may halla hy whythra orth perthynas an tavas dhe vÿs an negys.


Bÿs an negys yw bÿs an profyt. Ha cales yw cafos profyt in mes a’n Kernowek. Comodyta nyns yw. Saw bysy yw mentêna an cosmers yn contentys, ha cows Kernowek in negys an laha pàn vo dâ gans an cliens, hèn yw poynt a brow dhe bùb atorny, heb mar.


Ytho gwra kestalkya gensy hy. Yma experyens dhis a’n sort a lever meur. Te a wor na garsen ny mos dhe gesstrîf troblus gans Perys. Mès sur oma na vydn Demelsa drog-aqwytya mar kemerta les in hy froject; tra a vëdh chalynj brâs dhe vowes nag yw ma’s whêtek bloodh.


Seytek nessa mis. Y fëdh tevysak kyns ès ny dhe vos parys dhe’n feth. Saw unverhës on ny. Ry tabm gedyans a vëdh vas. Tava scav.

Predicative yn

We have learned that yn + Fifth State mutation makes an adverb out of an adjective. This adverb usually expresses the manner of the action or state of the verb. But it sometimes shows the outcome of the verb. We can see this usage in mentêna an cosmers yn contentys which means ‘keeping the customers happy’. In theory it could equally mean ‘happily keeping the customers’; the context tells us the first meaning is the one intended.

Talking about lawyers

’Solicitor’ is either atorny or laghyas (laghyades if specifically female). ‘Barrister’ is either dadhelor (dadhelores if specifically female), literally ‘debater’, or more precisely barr-laghyas (barr-laghyades). Idiomatically, when either of these is definite (‘the solicitor’ or ‘the barrister’) we can also say benyn an laha or den an laha.

Pronunciation of suffix us

Note the similarity of troblus ‘troublesome‘ and troblys ‘troubled’. The latter is the verbal adjective formed to verb trobla ‘trouble‘. It is customary to retain the old lip-rounded pronunciation of u in the adjectival suffix us when it would otherwise sound exactly like the ending ys of the verbal adjective.


Here are some more new words.

cùssulyadores advisor (female), dysplegya develop (also unfold), Esel Seneth (ES) Member of Parliament, metyans meeting, novelyth novelist, polytyk political, prydyth poet

Practys Deg warn UgansExercise Thirty

Dhe: Mêster Mundy, Hùmbrynkyas Adran an Sowsnek; ha Demelsa Pentreath, Wheffes Class

Lowen oma dhe dherivas Sûsan Hendry, cùssulyadores dhe’n ES ny, ha Tybalt Angwin, prydyth ha novelyth brâs y hanow i’n Kernowek, a rug agria dos dhe’n kensa metyans a’gan Cowethas nowyth. Sûsan a vedn cowsa (heb mar in Kernowek) a savla an tavas in bêwnans polytyk Kernow. Mêster Angwin a ra radna nebes geryow dro’n lien Gernowek ha fatl’ell bos dysplegys.

Sur oma why dhe wolcùbma an ôstysy-ma in vor’ vo gweff teg.

Alson Combellack


cowsa is another colloquial alternative to côwsel

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Six

Click or tap here





There are two ways of expressing a conditional sentence, depending on how we formulate what is technically known as the protasis – that is, the part of the sentence that is introduced by a conjunction meaning ‘if’. (The technical name of the part of the sentence expressing the outcome of the condition is the apodosis.) So far we have only encountered conditional sentences in which indicative tenses appear in the protasis. We call such conditional sentences ‘real’.

Here are some examples of real conditional sentences.

Referring to the present

Mars yw hedna gwir, soweth ny yllyn ny gwil tra vëth rag chaunjya an dra.

If that’s true, there’s unfortunately nothing we can do to change it.

Referring to the future

Mar mydn an howl shînya avorow, ny a wra mos dhe’n treth.

If the sun shines tomorrow, we’ll go to the beach.

Referring to the past

Mars o an pris deg pens, y feu marhas dhâ heb dowt.

If it cost ten pounds, that was definitely a bargain.

Mixing the times

Cabmwonys veu dos obma mar mydnys croffolas heb hedhy.

It was a mistake to come here if you’re going to complain constantly.

The other way of expressing a conditional sentence uses a subjunctive verb in the protasis. We call such conditional sentences ‘unreal’.

Here are the same examples presented as ‘unreal’ (also called ‘irrealis’).

Referring to the present

Mar pe hedna gwir, soweth ny alsen ny gwil tra vëth rag chaunjya an dra.

If that were true, there would unfortunately be nothing we could do to change it.

Referring to the future

Mar mydna an howl shînya avorow, ny a vensa mos dhe’n treth.

If the sun were to shine tomorrow, we would go to the beach.

Referring to the past

Mar pe an pris deg pens, y fia marhas dhâ heb dowt.

If it had cost ten pounds, that would definitely have been a bargain.

Mixing the times

Cabmwonys via dos obma mar qwrelles croffal heb hedhy.

It would have been a mistake to come here if you were going to complain constantly.

From these examples you can see that irrealis is the expression of a condition and its outcome as something either contradicted by the actual facts or as something that might well be so contradicted – that is, as something that is only a remote possibility.

One can also mix unreal with real, though this is not very common. In the following sentence, for instance, the indicative in the second part emphasizes the real shock that would result from fulfilment of the remote condition.

Mar pe hedna gwir, dhana Sows a’n Sowson ov vy.

If that were true, then I’m a Dutchman (literally 'a Saxon of the Saxons', a trueblood Saxon).

Conditional tense

We already know enough about the subjunctive to make the protasis of an unreal conditional sentence. We must now learn the conditional tense, which is always used in the apodosis of such a sentence. Historically, the conditional was an indicative tense with ‘pluperfect’ meaning. But this usage died out, and should not be employed in modern Cornish unless one is deliberately writing in an archaic style, perhaps for poetical effect.

Here are the conditional tenses of bos, mydnas, gwil, godhvos and gallos. The conditional tenses of mydnas and gwil are used interchangeably to form the conditional tense of every other verb, except in high literary registers.


bien vy, bies jy, bia ev, bia hy, bia + noun subject, bien ny, biewgh why, biens y


mensen vy, menses jy, mensa ev, mensa hy, mensa + noun subject, mensen ny, mensewgh why, mensens y


gwrussen vy, gwrusses jy, gwrussa ev, gwrussa hy, gwrussa + noun subject, gwrussen ny, gwrussewgh why, gwrussens y


gothvien vy, gothvies jy, gothvia ev, gothvia hy, gothvia + noun subject, gothvien ny, gothviewgh why, gothviens y


galsen vy, galses jy, galsa ev, galsa hy, galsa + noun subject, galsen ny, galsewgh why, galsens y

The conditional tense of mydnas is often spelled with y instead of e in the first syllable, especially in literature. All the forms of mydnas and gallos may alternatively be pronounced and spelled with j instead of s: menjen vy etc, galjen vy etc. The conditional tense of godhvos is rarely encoutered except in formal writing. The spelling is merely a convention: the pronunciation of thv is identical to thf employed for the subjunctive forms.

As usual, the pronouns vy, jy etc can always be omitted. And as always it is exclusively the ev / hy forms that are used when the grammatical subject precedes the verb.

As usual, forms preceded by interrogative particle a or link particle a and negative forms introduced by negative particles ny and na will be in Second State; forms preceded by affirmative particle will be in Fifth State.

In Cornish we rely entirely on context to work out whether an unreal conditional sentence refers to the present, the future or the past, or to a mix of times. It is therefore very important to ensure the context is clear.


Here are some more new words.

arâg dorn (also dhyrag dorn) beforehand, previously, betraya betray, clerhe clarify, explain, crefter strength, dres otham unnecessary, goheles avoid, trest trust

We already know fol fool. The word is also an adjective meaning ‘foolish’.

Practys Udnek warn UgansExercise Thirty One

What do these Cornish sentences mean? As there is insufficient context here to know whether they refer to the present, the future or the past, you can experiment with different translations to strengthen your understanding of how ‘open’ the Cornish sentences are in this respect.

Mar pe dôwysys dhe’n parra, ev a vensa dry moy crefter dhe gres an gwel. Hebma mar cothfes, te a vensa godhvos (te a wothvia) an udn dra yw moyha y bris. Me a vensa prena pows nowyth mar pe dhybm mona lowr. Me a wrussa mos dhe’n dre mar pe an gewar gwell. Mar pen ny ervirys arâg dorn, ny a alsa goheles dadhel dres otham moy adhewedhes. Mar mednyn agria, y whrussen ny betraya y drest. Mar carses gwil gweres dhybm in gwir, ny venses profya cùssul fol a’n par-na. Mar kylly clerhe dha borpos, y fia hedna êsya rag pùb huny. My a via moy cosel mar pewgh unweyth moy cortes. Mar pe an dra unweyth ges ny oll a vensa wherthyn.

Unweyth means ‘only’ in the protasis of an unreal conditional sentence, just as it does for ‘if only’ wishes.

More about me a garsa

We know that me a garsa means ‘I wish to’ or ‘I want to’ with a verb-noun. Although this too is technically a conditional tense, we treat it as a separate idiom. It is so common that garsowgh has replaced more formally correct garsewgh as one of the forms we use in this sense.

In colloquial Cornish me a vensa can be employed in the same way as me a garsa.

We have learned that me a garsa does not change to reflect time (‘want to’, ‘wanted to’, ‘will want to’, etc). It may be employed in the apodosis of a conditional sentence, real or unreal; and in the protasis of a real conditional sentence. When determining the precise meaning context is all.

In the protasis of an unreal conditional sentence, the subjunctive of mydnas may take the place of me a garsa in a literary style, while colloquially we can use the imperfect subjunctive of bos with a verbal adjective such as plegys or whensys.

In order to say ‘I would love’ someone or something as opposed to ‘I want to’ do something, we can use kerys via, as in this example:

Kerys via hy genef, pynag a vo wharvedhys.

I would love her (literally ‘loved would she be by me’), come what may.

Conditional tense without explicit protasis

In English we often use a conditional tense with a protasis only implied, not stated. For example, we may say ‘it would be a good idea’ to do something, meaning it would be considered a good idea if anyone thought about it.

Cornish does not confine the conditional tense only to sentences comprising both protasis and apodosis. As you see from the above example Kerys via genef, pynag a vo wharvedhys. It is however unusual in good Cornish to employ the conditional tense when a sentence comprises only a single clause referring to the present or the future. In this circumstance a future tense is generally preferred. So the best equivalent of the short sentence ‘That would be a good idea!’ is Y fëdh hedna tybyans dâ!

When we do find the conditional tense in such a sentence, it most naturally refers to the past. So if we say Y fia hedna tybyans dâ! after all, it will generally mean ‘That would have been a good idea!’

Words for ‘if’

We have learned that means ‘if’ in ‘if only’ wishes. We may also use ‘if’ as an alternative to mar ‘if’ in unreal conditional sentences. But has a literary feel away from ‘if only’ wishes. It is however combined with mar to form composite mara ‘if’. This variant is found in all registers, spoken and written; and may also be used in affirmative real conditional sentences, and in indirect questions. All three words: a, mar, mara cause Fourth State mutation of the following verb.

Changes to words before a vowel in bos / mos

Before a vowel in forms of either bos or mos particles na and ny and conjunctions erna, mar and mara become respectively nag and nyns (or nynj) and ernag, mars, maras. Contrast conjunction na ‘nor’, which optionally becomes nag before any word beginning with a vowel. We have already come across a lot of this rule in practice. For completeness we should also note that particle re becomes res (or rej) before a vowel in forms of mos.

Negative protasis in unreal conditional sentence

The negative protasis of an unreal conditional sentence can be introduced by mar na. We may also employ na without preceding mar. In both cases na functions as the negative of ‘if’. But this na in a personal construction without reinforcing mar belongs only to poetical registers, save for a few more or less fixed phrases. Na in an impersonal construction is however common in everyday Cornish for verbs other than bos. That is, we employ invariable na ve ‘if it were not [the case that]’, followed by an infinitive construction.

Most Cornish speakers today prefer mar ny to mar na. It is an authentic alternative usage. We do not employ mara before either na or ny.

Here are some examples.

Mar ny (na) ve an gewar mar uthyk, ny a via mes a’n chy hag ow qwary pel droos.

If the weather weren’t so awful, we would be outside playing football.

Mar ny (na) ven vy mar hel, scon y fies mar vohosak avell Job wàr an deylek.

If I weren’t so generous, soon you wouldn’t have a penny to your name.

Na vêns y, me a via gyllys oll dhe goll.

If it were not for them I’d be completely lost.

Na ve kenderow vy dhe apperya i’n kyffewy, scant ny via hireth anodho.

If my cousin were not to turn up to the party he’d hardly be missed.

Na ve hy dhe dherivas orthyf, nefra ny wrussen y wodhvos (ny’n gothvien).

If she hadn’t told me, I’d never have known.

Na ve an kyttryn dhe dhos i’n very prës-na, ny a via budhys in dadn law.

If the bus hadn’t arrived at just that moment, we’d have been drenched by the rain.

Practys Dêwdhek warn UgansExercise Thirty Two

How would you put the following outburst into good Cornish? You will have to use a dictionary like Gerlyver Kescows. And some ingenuity! Remember that a good translation into Cornish will always render the substance of what is being said in an authentically Cornish way.

If only he wasn’t such a wimp! If he had the courage to call her and say he was wrong and that they must somehow try again, because he loves her, and he acted like a fool, then everything could be put back together. I’m sure of it. But he won’t call her. She’d probably call him if she wasn’t so stubborn. If I talked to her … Do you think? Maybe she’d listen. If only I knew what to do! What would you do if you were in my place?


Here are some more new words.

aberveth inside, An Stâtarhow pl The Treasury, anella breathe, attendya pay attention (to), awen (delightful) inspiration, berrheans abridgement, précis (also abbreviation), brës mind, cader chair (especially one of elegance or authority), cessya cease, clem claim, crefhe strengthen, cùntell gather, degador vehicle, democratieth democracy, desmygyans imagination, determya determine, decide, dyffrans difference (also adjective ‘different’), dylla publish (also emit), Englond (= Pow an Sowson), ertach heritage, essens essence, gwlasegor statesman, politician, honensys identity, lyhariv minority, moyhariv majority, mynoryta minority, novel novel, oxygen oxygen, patron pattern, pêmont payment, polytygieth politics, prydydhieth poetry, representya represent, rychys wealth, richness, selvenek basic, fundamental, seneth parliament, versyon version, voys voice, wostallath at first

in gwiryoneth is an alternative form of in gwrioneth

We know the verb sensy in its primary meaning ‘hold’. It is also used to mean ‘consider’ something to have a particular quality. Gallos is used as a masculine noun to mean ‘power, ability’.

Practys Tredhek warn UgansExercise Thirty Three

Cowethas an Tavas Kernowek a gùntellas dhe’n kensa treveth in scol Demelsa, ha hobma i’n gader.

Otta versyon cot a’n geryow a leverys Sûsan Hendry.

“Agan tavas yw, dowt vÿth, a bris brâs avell ertach. Mès why a wor fatell usy an moyha rann a’n poblans in Kernow ow kêwsel Sowsnek heb godhvos an Kernowek, saw geryow bohes aga nùmber. Whel an polytygor yw gul gwythres dhe les oll an gowethas. Gwitha ertach – hèn yw dhe les an gowethas. Goslowes orth lev pùb mynoryta – th’yw dhe les an gowethas in ketelma. Mès gul gwythres abarth an lyhariv warbynn an moyhariv, pò heb attendya an moyhariv – nâ – democratieth ny vÿdh hemma. Gwethysy on ny, an wlasegoryon, dhe wiryow selvenek an lyhariv, heb mar. Saw pùb termyn yth yw res determya py gwiryow a vÿdh sensys yn selvenek, hag yma opynyons ledan aga dyffrans adro dhe’n qwestyon-ma. Nefra ny vÿdh mona lowr rag pùptra. Res yw convedhes a ble ma’n mona ow tos: tollow leek in Kernow, pêmons ajy dhe’n Stâtarhow in Loundres. Ha ny yller surhe pùpprÿs in lahys rag oll Englond na vo caletter vÿth rag cowsoryon a’n Kernowek. Bytegyns, kenyver Esel Seneth rag bro a Gernow yw voys i’n Seneth may halla clêmys an Kernowek bos clêwys.”

Ha otta berrheans a’n pëth a veu arethyes gans Tybalt Angwin.

“Nyns yw polytygieth kebmys hy bern, dell hevel dhèm, in gwiryoneth. An tavas bew yma yn town aberverth i’gan lies teylu, i’gan lies perthynas personek, i’gan brës ha’gan preder. Radn a’gan honensys yw gàn tavas, na fors pana gowntnans a vo dhe’n re usy ow menystra an wlas. Yth esof ow screfa prydydhieth in Kernowek rag na woram cachya essens an bêwnans marnas dredhy. Hag yth esof ow screfa novelys awos bos otham crefhe an tavas avell degador tybyans a bùb ehen, otham gorra rychys in y allos representya an bÿs dell eson ny Kernowyon orth y weles, otham provia patronys dhe seul a garsa cessya heb scodhya i’ga desmygyans wàr an Sowsnek. Lien yw oxygen. Gwrewgh anella myns a wrug vy dylla. Wolcùm owgh. Ha gèn hedna, martesen, re gaffowgh awen rag dry gàs talent agas honen ha screfa taclow moy, taclow gwell, taclow marthys.”

Y wharva dadhel yn fen warlergh an dhew bresentyans. In Kernowek. Pan dadhel a yllowgh why gwil a’n dyvers poyntys in pùb areth? Wostallath in Kernowek. Hag in Sowsnek kefrës.

Susan Hendry does not pre-occlude. Consistent with this kind of Cornish is her use of gul (pronounced with rounded u) instead of gwil; her preference for vÿdh, vÿth, pùpprÿs rather than vëdh, vëth, pùpprës; and her choice of kêwsel instead of côwsel, goslowes instead of golsowes, clêwes instead of clôwes.

Tybalt Angwin, on the other hand, displays a style that is rooted in fairly colloquial Cornish (screfa rather than scrifa for instance, woram instead of woraf, and gèn, gàn, gàs in place of gans, agan, agas). But the Cornish is nonetheless elevated for the occasion. For example re gaffowgh: there is a poetical flavour to particle re expressing a wish with subjunctives of verbs other than bos – see Lesson Eight for all the subjunctive forms of cafos.

Cessya can be followed directly by a verb-noun. But cessya heb + verb-noun is more idiomatic. 

Men ‘vigorous’ is rare as an adjective outside poetry. In prose we typically use the adverbial form yn fen, which is common.

Various meanings of seul

We already know py seul ‘how much’ or ‘how many’. We have encountered myns a ‘everthing that’ previously. Parallel with it is seul a which means ‘everyone who’. And seul is followed by a comparative adjective or adverb in Second State in expressions like seul voy y whilaf hy flêsya, dhe le revrons a dhysqwa dhybm ‘the more I try to please her, the less respect she shows me.’ There is also an unrelated masculine noun seul meaning ‘heel’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Seven

Click or tap here




Subjunctive of cafos, dos, mos, ry

We have learned the inflected subjunctives of bos (two tenses), mydnas, gwil, godhvos and gallos. Only four other verbs have inflected subjunctives that are used outside of literature and a few fixed phrases. Here they are.


caffen (or kyffyf) vy, caffes (or kyffy) jy, caffa ev, caffa hy, caffa + noun subject, caffen (or kyffen) ny, caffowgh (or kyffowgh) why, caffons y


deffen (or dyffyf) vy, deffes (or dyffy) jy, deffa ev, deffa hy, deffa + noun subject, deffen ny, deffowgh why, deffons y


ellen (or yllyf) vy, elles or (ylly) jy, ella ev, ella hy, ella + noun subject, ellen ny, ellowgh why, ellons y


rollen vy, rolles jy, rolla or (roy) ev, rolla or (roy) hy, rolla or (roy) + noun subject, rollen ny, rollowgh why, rollons y

As usual, the pronouns vy, jy etc can always be omitted.

Take care with some forms of gallos and mos

In some colloquial pronunciations, forms of gallos that have a or y as the first syllable vowel are pronounced (and sometimes spelled) with e instead. For example, we may encounter A allama gwil hebma? ‘Can I do this?’ as ’Ellama gwil hebma? This sound-change makes a few forms of gallos identical with forms of mos. Indeed, even without the sound-change ylly could be interpreted as the ‘he/she’ form of the imperfect tense of gallos or the you (singular) subjunctive form of either gallos or mos. In practice, you tend to find that speakers who make the sound-change do not use the inflected subjunctive of mos at all.

Conditional with mar teffen vy

In Book Two we learned the formula mar teuma ha etc + verb-noun as a way of formulating the protasis of a real conditional sentence. The more formal option mar teuv vy ha or just mar teuv ha is also available. The corresponding way to build the protasis of an unreal conditional sentence is mar teffen vy ha etc + verb-noun. Mara may be substituted for mar in the real formula but is not used in the unreal one. And ‘if’ does not occur in this construction at all.


Here are some more new words.

compes straight, right (also accurate), dyghtya treat, fyttya fit, gober wage, salary, merkyl miracle, omwil pretend to be, taxy taxi

Practys Peswardhek warn UgansExercise Thirty Four

What do these Cornish sentences mean?

Mara teuva ha govyn kerdhes ganso in mes, omwra cales dhe gafos. Yth esof ow tanvon hebma dhis rag may hylly godhvos. A pes unweyth ow qwil neppëth vas! Mar kyffy moy gober, fatla venses y spêna? Mar teffons ha gwainya, y fia merkyl brâs! Na ve an skyjyow-ma dhe’m fyttya yn perfeth, ny venjen aga frena. Gas ny dhe gemeres taxy mar pëdh otham. Mars ellowgh compes dhe bedn an strêt, why a alsa gweles an gorsaf dhyragowgh. A cothfen, y fynsen vy derivas. Mar rollen ny mil bens dhodho ev warleny, a wrussewgh y dhyghtya ken fordh?

Conditional tense in protasis

Occasionally a conditional tense occurs in the protasis of a conditional sentence instead of the subjunctive. This phenomenon is becoming frequent in English. In Cornish it should be treated as very exceptional. We would usually hear, for instance, lowen vien vy mar qwrella an kyttryn dos adermyn ‘I’d be happy if the bus were to come on time’ or ‘I’d have been happy if the bus had come on time’ (depending on context). But we might possibly encounter lowen vien vy mar qwrussa an kyttryn dos adermyn just as we might these days hear ‘I’d be happy if the bus would come on time’ or ‘I’d have been happy if the bus would have come on time’ in English.

Inflected conditional tenses of other verbs

Conditional tenses of many verbs can be encountered in literature written in a high register. But conditional tenses apart from those specifically taught here are barely used at all in everyday Cornish, spoken or written. If you are unsure how a particular inflected conditional tense is formed, you should not hesitate to check in a reference book of grammar.

Negative exhortations

To express a negative exhortation, or a strong negative wish, we employ bydnar re + subjunctive. The present subjunctive in the case of bos; and we may use available future-reference alternatives in the subjunctive of other verbs. As usual, particle re is followed by Second State of all verb except bos.

Here are some examples.

Bydnar re bo caus a vresel ’tredhon!

May it not become a bone of contention between us!

It is a Bretonism to employ bresel in the sense ‘war’; the proper word for ‘war’ is gwerryans.

Ha bydnar re dheffes arta!

And I hope you never come back!

Bydnar re vednowgh drog-gerya den marow!

You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead!

Bydnar re brederhy a’n dra!

Don’t think of it for one moment!


Here are some more new words.

ascoryans production, costya cost, cùssulya warbarth consult, doctour doctor (PhD, MD, etc), gerednow pl gobbledygook (also banter), hangya hang, hewelder visibility, kemysky mix, kettesten context, Lester Noy Noah’s Ark, lyvryk booklet, realystek realistic, teknegyl technical, trailyans translation (also turning)

Practys Pymthek warn UgansExercise Thirty Five

Yma Mêster Mundy ow cùssulya warbarth a’n qwestyon py gwary a vëdh dôwysys hevleny rag an Seythves hag Êthves Bledhydnyow may hallons y performya ino. Tybyans Mêster Mundy yw gwil ascoryans a Lester Noy, radn Origo Mundi a’n Ordinalia, in trailyans Sowsnek scrifys gans Alan M. Kent.

Mêster Mundy:

Fatl’yw dha vreus jy, Demelsa, a’m tybyans-ma? Me a hevel hewelder ertach an tavas dhe vos scodhys ganso i’n Scol. Hag y fëdh spâss lowr rag dry mûsyk ha dauns dhe’n performans.


Wèl, eâ gwir. Ha pòr dhâ yw genef an trailyans a wrug Doctour Kent. Mès a nyns yw dieth na vëdh presentys in Kernowek?

Mêster Mundy:

Res yw dhyn predery realystek, Demelsa. Ny wor an moyhariv Kernowek, na lies flogh na lies aga theylu.


A ny yll nebes Kernowek bos kemyskys ino?

Mêster Mundy:

Raglavar martesen. Yn kensa in Kernowek, hag in Sowsnek wosa hedna …


Ogh dhe’n lyha! Hag a yll an text Kernowek bos pryntys in lyvryk an dowlen pàr hap?

Mêster Mundy:

Hmm … y fëdh ow hangya in nes an bojet. Dâ lowr, me a’n whyther gans an bendescadores.


Otta neppëth, heb costya tra vëth! Me a yll metya gans oll an warioryon, pàn vowns y ow tasleverel partys arâg dorn, ha styrya mênyng an gwary, in y gettesten a Gernow.

Mêster Mundy:

Profyans cuv. Eâ, gwra indelha. Saw remember aga bloodh. Bydnar re wrelles cows yn teknegyl. Pùptra yn pòr sempel. Na wra areth ortans!


Dowt vëth. Yth esen ow honen i’n Seythves Bledhen, nyns yw pell alebma – i’n termyn-na ny garsen gosowes naneyl hag onen a’n Wheffes Class ow talkya gerednow hir …

Cregy and hangya both mean ‘hang’ (including as a method of execution). Cregy is more common in the literal sense. Hangya in nes means ‘depend on’, referring to a contingency. Powes gans is an alternative with the same sense. Scodhya wàr means ‘depend on’ in the sense of being reliant upon someone or something.

Me a’n whyther ‘I’ll look into it’ is a good example of an inflected present-future tense being used conversationally for brevity.

Owth is used instead of ow before verb-nouns beginning with either a vowel or h. But we do sometimes find just ow before h.

Assaya can mean ‘rehearse’ when the context supports that meaning. The phrase dasleverel partys arâg dorn (literally ‘repeat parts beforehand’) is a more technical way of expressing the idea for a play. The equivalent for an orchestral performance is dasseny partys arâg dorn.

Nouns employed as attributive adjectives

Cornish is fairly flexible about taking words assigned to a particular grammatical category and applying them in the function of some other category. Though it is not a universal principle. There are some red lines. Only an adjective may be used as a predicative adjective. Only a verb may be used as a verb.

A noun is frequently encountered in the function of an attributive adjective. Do you remember pedn êhel from Book Two? Nouns for a material may be used in this way to describe something made of that material. For example, fos men ‘stone wall’, equivalent to fos a ven or fos a veyn. Or we may employ a verb-noun to narrow the meaning of an ordinary noun. For example, class dauncya ‘dance class’. In this instance, class dauns is also possible.

English mostly prefers to use singular nouns as descriptors, even when the idea is in fact plural. We say ‘car park’ for instance, even though there is space to park more than one vehicle. Cornish is more willing to use a plural descriptively, as in park kerry ‘car park’. But it is better to analyse an expression like henwyn tyleryow ‘place-names’, corresponding to singular hanow tyller, as a genitive construction.

Generally, we do not put a descriptor noun into Second State when it is used as attributive adjective. We say ostel gorlanwes for example. There are exceptions: pluven blobm for instance, where plobm is no longer the material actually used; the two words now just form a fixed phrase together. It is very rare for a verb-noun to undergo mutation when it is used attributively. So we say astell mordardhya for instance; but exceptionally a ‘folding ladder’ is skeul blegya.

Sometimes two alternative analyses will be possible. Either that the first noun is being described by the second noun; or that the first noun is functioning as a quantifier for the second noun. So tabm tesen is probably best seen as a ‘bit’ (quantity) of cake, equivalent to tabm a desen, but omitting preposition a stylistically. It could however be considered as a ‘bit’ (piece) which is ‘made of’ cake.

A noun used as attributive adjective always ‘remembers’ that it is actually a noun. So if an opportunity arises to make the descriptor noun the second element of a genitive construction, this frequently happens. Kyttryn scol, for instance, is ‘a school bus’. But we prefer to express ‘the school bus’ as kyttryn an scol (literally ‘the bus of the school’) rather than saying an kyttryn scol. Likewise gwascas goos ‘blood pressure’, but gwascas y woos ‘his blood pressure’ rather than y wascas goos.

Adverbs employed as attributive adjectives

If we press an adverb into service as an attributive adjective, then it too is not put into Second State. So we shall say, for instance, y wreg kyns ‘his former wife’. We first noted this point in Book Two, Lesson Four.

Attributive adjectives used without a noun

In good Cornish only certain kinds of attributive adjective may be used without an accompanying noun. Superlatives are one such kind. For example, hy a wrug dôwys an tecka ‘she chose the prettiest [one]’. Ordinal numerals are another kind. For example, Py troboynt y tal trailya? An tressa aglêdh. ‘Which is the turning to take? The third on the left.’

Cornish can also employ an adjective as a noun. For example, yma an acownt gyllys dhe’n rudh ‘the account has gone into the red’. Sometimes a double analysis is possible, as in oll an gwelha ‘all the best’ (common sign-off in emails), which could be a case of a superlative (short for an gwelha taclow perhaps) or seen as an adjective employed as a noun.

English will not always be a secure guide to correct use of an adjective without accompanying noun in Cornish. In English we can say ‘the same’ meaning ‘the same thing’, for instance; but as we learned in Book Two, Lesson One we must say an keth tra or an keth hedna. It follows that we cannot use an keth ha as an equivalent of English ‘the same as’. If a friend orders food or drink and we wish to order the same, we say A gev a gafam, literally ‘[That] which he/she will have I will have’.


Here are some more new words.

aberth in inside, argemydna advertise, audycyon audition, best animal, bûsel dung, corol dance, dauncyans m dancing, dauncyor dancer, daunslunyans choreography, dowrvargh hippopotamus, efan expansive, wide, gis manner, style, gwaryva stage (theatre), heudh gleeful, merry, ilow music, ombrofya apply (for a job etc), selwans salvation (also goalkeeper’s save), soler m gallery, swàn swan, teyl manure, trettya tread, tûtû tutu

Practys Whêtek warn UgansExercise Thirty Six

Yma Mark ha’y gothman Josh ow kestalkya.


A wrusta clôwes? Ymowns y owth argemydna rag cafos dauncyoryon dhe Lester Noy, a vëdh gwary an Seythves hag Êthves hevleny.


Ny yll den vëth dauncya in Lester Noy. Heb trettya in cals teyl ha meneth bûsel.


Ges heudh! Saw oll an dra, th’yw sad yn tien. Ymowns y ow tôwlel towl byldya plain gwary i’n Hel Sport. Y fëdh gwaryva, formyes i’n lester wàr soler, ha plâss efan rag dauncya.


Ha pëth a vëdh an dauncyans? Py gis? Pana vûsyk? Lydn an Swàns gans dowrvergh in tûtû?


Nâ nâ. Adar corol ballet. Dauncyow arnowyth. Ow whor vy, Demelsa Pentreath, usy i’n Wheffes Class, a wrug côwsel in y gever orth Mêster Mundy. Ev a vydn presentya bestas ow cùntell in dauns, hag ow mos aberth i’n lester dre dhauns, hag ow tos in mes a’n lester wàr an dyweth rag gôlya aga selwans in dauns.


Saw ny wor Mundy dauncya yn tâ. Ow gaja dhe why!


Dal vëth. Mêstresyk Keverne a wra gwil gweres orth an ilow ha’n daunslunyans. Y fëdh audycyons avorow rag seul a garsa.


Onen vrav lowr yw Keverne-Ny-Vern. Gas ny dhe ombrofya ytho. A yllyn ny dôwys py best a vedhyn?


Nor’vy màn. Y’m beus tybyans, heb mar, raga jy. Saw ny vëdh dâ dhis!

Plain an Gwary means ‘the Playing Place’ or traditional open-air theatre of a Cornish community. A few still exist – most famously at St Just. The name is a genitive construction, so ‘a playing place’ will be plain gwary.

dal is a colloquial form of dadhel

Miss Keverne presumably earns her nickname by frequently exclaiming ‘Never mind!’ Probably as reassurance to pupils who do not get their dance steps right first time.

Suffix va and compounds built with chy

Sometimes words built with suffix va indicating a place have the same meaning as words built with chy. For example, coffyva and coffyjy both mean ‘café’. But this is not always true. Lyverva can mean ‘library’ but also ‘bookcase’; whereas lyverjy can mean ‘library’ or ‘bookshop’. And gwaryva means ‘stage’ but gwaryjy means ‘theatre’.

Prefix dy (di)

Many words comprise a core element to which a prefix is added in front of it. One of the most common prefixes is dy meaning ‘without’. It is followed by Second State mutation. We spell it di when it precedes a vowel. The meaning of most words built with this prefix is reasonably transparent, though the sense of ‘without’ is sometimes shifted towards undoing something. We already know dydro ‘direct’ (literally ‘without turn’); dyvlâm ‘innocent’ (literally ‘without blame’); dydhemedhy ‘divorce’ (literally ‘unmarry’).

Sometimes the sense is not quite so easy to predict. Heudh means ‘gleeful, merry’. Dyheth, more commonly spelled dieth, means ‘a pity’ or ‘a shame’, most frequently found in the phrase Ass yw dieth!

Occasionally the language has developed so that the original core element is not found as an independent word at all. In dyweth ‘end’, for example, the second syllable represents an old word *wedh ‘take, carry’. So the end of something was originally the ‘uncarrying’, the moment when you put it down.

Suffix ans / yans

The suffix ans is very ‘productive’, turning verb-nouns into ordinary nouns of action. It has an alternative form yans used in some words. But a lot of words spelled yans are actually employing suffix ans. The consonantal y in these words belongs to the core element, not to the suffix. An example is dauncyans, built to verb-noun dauncya, not to ordinary noun dauns. An example where alternative yans is indeed in play would be leveryans built to verb-noun leverel. We can note that any marker of the verb-noun is replaced by ans (yans), so the final a of dauncya and the el of leverel are dropped before the suffix is added. In the case of most verb-nouns ending in vocalic y, this marker is removed, but we then always select alternative yans. So tybyans looks like it is tyby-ans but in fact it is tyb-yans. There are occasional surprises. The unexpected appearance of the first n in bêwnans, for instance, built to verb-noun bêwa; or the change of e to y in dyscans, built to desky.

Happy families

Heudh is an example of a word which invites you to discover a little more about the ‘sense-family’ to which it belongs. Learning about such families as you advance in Cornish is a powerful way to increase your vocabulary. Hudhyk turns out to be more common than heudh. But heudh is more versatile because, though both words mean much the same when they are adjectives, heudh can also be a masculine noun ‘joy, glee’. There is loan-word mery too, with the same meaning as in English. But it mostly occurs in Fifth State as yn fery ‘merrily’. If we consider possible confusion with verb mery ‘snivel’ this pragmatic restriction is easy to understand.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Eight

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Kepar ha pàn

Pàn ‘when’ often comes close in meaning to ‘if’. And it always means ‘if’ in the fixed phrase kepar ha pàn ‘[just] as if’, which is followed by a verb in the subjunctive (imperfect subjunctive in the case of bos) because it is an instance of irrealis.

Here are some examples.

Ùnpossybyl yw deseha an dyllas mes a’n chy pàn wra glaw.

It’s impossible to dry washing outside when (if) it’s raining.

Yth esens y ow kerdhes kepar ha pàn vêns in hunros.

They were walking as if in a dream.

Yth esa semlant dhodho kepar ha pàn vydna leverel neppëth.

He looked as if he wanted to say something.

Hy a wrug miras dredhon kepar ha pàn na ven unweyth i’n bÿs.

She looked right through us as if we didn’t even exist.


To express a simile with the formula ‘as … as’ we use mar avell. Occasionally maga takes the place of mar. Mar ‘as’ is followed by Second State; maga ‘as’ is followed by Fifth State. And neither of these words undergoes mutation after particle yn. There is a tendency in conversational Cornish to select maga ‘as’ only when Fifth State makes a difference to the consonant that follows. This is just a pragmatic measure, avoiding confusion with verb maga ‘nurture’.

Here are a few similes that more or less correspond with English.

mar rêwlys avell clock ‘as regular as clockwork’

mar wydn avell an ergh ‘as white as snow’

mar growsek avell dew dreuspren ‘as cross as two sticks’

maga wher avell an gwels ‘as green as grass’

We have met magata as a simple adverb meaning ‘as well’ in the sense ‘also, too’. The practice of spelling this as a single word usefully distinguishes it from equative maga tâ avell ‘as good as’ (equivalent to mar dhâ avell).

More about avell

Outside of similes and other equative expressions we often prefer to use kepar ha to mean ‘like’; but avell is available as a weaker alternative.

We may also use avell to mean ‘in the function / capacity of’. For example, Res yw dhedhy bos gostyth, avell sodhak Consel Kernow, dh’y bolycy. ‘She must, as an officer of Cornwall Council, comply with its policy’. In lower registers of Cornish uninflected avell is often used instead of ès or ages to mean ‘than’ after a comparative.

Colloquially avell is often clipped to vell.

Y codhvia and y talvia

From Book One we know that y coodh and y tal express the idea of ‘should’ or ‘ought to’. These forms have present sense. We also employ conditional forms of these phrases, y codhvia and y talvia. These may have present or past (‘too late now’) sense according to context. Even when the sense is present, however, there is a sense of obligation in vain.

Here are some examples, with specimen meanings that will depend on context.

Y coodh dhybm dybarth heb let.

I should leave straightaway.

Y codhvia dhybm dybarth heb let.

I should leave straightaway (but I probably won’t). or

I should have left straightaway (but I didn’t).

Ny goodh dhis kemeres gorras orth stranjer.

You shouldn’t accept lifts from strangers.

Ny godhvia dhis kemeres gorras orth stranjer.

You shouldn’t accept lifts from strangers (but you do). or

You shouldn’t have accepted a lift from a stranger (but you did).

Y tal dhyn mos wàr an train.

We should go by train.

Y talvia dhyn mos wàr an train.

We should go by train (but we probably won’t). or

We should have gone by train (but we didn’t). 

Ny dal dhodhans croffolas.

They should not complain.

Ny dalvia dhodhans crofollas.

They should not complain (but they do). or

They should not have complained (but they did).

Just as we may also say more colloquially ny a dal mos wàr an train, we can make an affirmative statement ny a dalvia mos wàr an train. Neither y coodh nor y codhvia is used in this alternative fashion.

A further possibility for affirmative statements is to use a hybrid construction. So we may say me a goodh dhybm dybarth heb let or me a godhvia dhybm dybarth heb let. Likewise we can say ny a dal dhyn mos wàr an train or ny a dalvia dhyn mos wàr an train.


Here are some more new words.

blâmya blame, bool axe, briansen throat, comparya compare, cronak toad, Dor Coth Dolcoath, dowrgy otter, dyfreth feeble, dyowl devil, esel member (also limb), gerys dâ popular, glujek sticky, glûth dew (also condensation), goderry interrupt (something), grug col heather, gwethyn pliable, gwiryon honest, gwybessa waste time (literally ‘go catching gnats’), kelmy tie, lavar utterance (also sentence), leven smooth, levryth fresh milk, lonk gullet, melynor miller, mûn mineral, new toos kneading trough, semblans simile, sogh blunt, stella still, stenor miner, strechya stretch out, teylek midden, rubbish heap, tyckly tricky, awkward, whetha v swell

Practys Seytek warn UgansExercise Thirty Seven

Yma dhe Danyel lesson tre in Sowsnek haneth. I’n scol ev a wrug desky lies lavar coth comparya. Y dhescador class, nag yw Kernowegor, a wovydnas orth esely an strem Kernowek cùntell deg lavar coth comparya yw gerys dâ in Kernowek, adar meur ûsys i’n Sowsnek a’gan dedhyow ny; hag ev a’s pesys a vos parys ternos dhe styrya pùb semblans dhe oll an class.


Prës mos dhe’n gwely a vëdh yn scon, Danyel. Pan lies semblans a wrusta cùntell bys i’n eur-ma?


Th’yw tyckly. Ny garsen vy scrifa semblans yw dyfreth. Mar lëb avell dowrgy, rag ensampyl. Nyns eus lowr a awen ino ev!


Wèl, an semblans-ma yw gerys dâ in Kernowek bytegyns. Esta ow whilas re uhel dha whans? Sur ny veu porpos an descador gwil whel cales dhis. A ny ylta gorfedna scon? Heb gwybessa?


Wèl, yma eth semblans yw dâ dhèm solabrës. Pana vreus a’n re-ma? Mar lowen avell cath ha dew lost dhedhy. Mar whethys avell cronak wàr an glûth. Mar dhu avell sagh croust an jowl. Mar lujek avell new toos. Mar leven avell lydn levryth. Mar vohosak avell Job wàr an deylek. Mar godnek avell melynor ow kemeres tollow. Mar sëgh y vriansen avell lonk gùlan.


Spladn yns y! Ober bryntyn!


Ma dew stella dhe whilas ytho. Mar wiryon avell an howl? Mar wethyn avell grug?


(ow coderry aga hows) A Dany, prag na wreta dôwys dew yw kelmys dhe’n wonysegeth mûn a Gernow? Mar sogh avell bool stenor. Ha mar dhown avell Dor Coth.


Tybyans teg! Ot an lesson tre gwrës deu. Saw dar! Nyns yw prës mos dhe’n gwely in gwir …


Pymthek mynysen whath. Ty yw dhe vlâmya awos strechya an lesson tre mar bell. Demelsa, ny dalvia dhedhy mellya wor’ dha lesson, mès ’dro-ma hy a’th selwys. Bëdh war … pymthek only!

Lavar is any utterance. Lavar coth is an ‘old saying’, which may be a proverb, or a motto, or a traditional phrase. Lavar coth comparya is then a traditional simile. Semblans is the word for a simile as a technical term.

An jowl is ‘the devil’. This is the same change of to after that we have already met in an jëdh and udn jëdh, though here the change is strictly dy to j. We have also encountered the change (as t to j) in y’n jeves etc (compare y’s teves). Some refer to this change as ‘nasal mutation’; but the term is misleading because this is not a regular system of sound-change, nor does it serve any grammatical purpose.

The reference to the miller taking tollow is to mediaeval tolls, not taxes in the modern sense. Tenants were obliged to have their corn ground at the manor mill. A miller who was codnek could often enrich himself by sharp practice as middleman between tenant and lord.

Danyel is unimpressed by Cornish mar lëb avell dowrgy. The imagery is more specific in English ‘as wet as an otter’s pocket’; and English ‘like a drowned rat’ is perhaps also a stronger image.

The phrase gwrës [ha] deu means ‘over and done with’. Here deu is an adjective with the sense ‘finished, spent’; it is nothing to do with verb dos.

Strechya is very often used of time to mean ‘delay’ or ‘linger’.

Prepositions as conjunctions

A small number of Cornish prepositions have come to be used also as coordinating conjunctions. These are ha ‘with’ employed to mean ‘and’; marnas ‘except’ employed to mean ‘except that’; mès (a by-form of marnas) employed to mean ‘but’; saw ‘save, except for’ employed to mean ‘but’; rag ‘for’ and drefen ‘because of’, both employed to mean ‘for’ linking two sentences (the second giving the reason for the first).

A larger number of prepositions may not be used as conjunctions. They can only precede a noun or a pronoun; they can neither introduce a clause (they are not subordinating conjunctions) nor link two sentences together (they are not coordinating conjunctions). In this larger category of prepositions are kyns and kyns ès ‘before’; wosa and warlergh ‘after’; dre rêson and awos ‘because of’; heb ‘without’; in le ‘instead of’. All of these may be used with the infinitive construction and (except for awos and heb) with negative indirect statements introduced by na. The same prepositions may also be employed with a simple verb-noun when there is no change of logical subject. Before a verb-noun dre rêson and in le become dre rêson a and in le a.

Remember that with the prepositions the only verb-noun that can be modified by a possessive pronoun or be followed by a noun subject is bos (that is, in a bos clause). So with other verbs we may only employ a preposition with verb-noun when there is no change of logical subject.

Here are some examples.

kyns ès bos dyscudhys ‘before being discovered’

kyns ès [agan] bos ny dyscudhys ‘before we are/were discovered’

kyns ès bos an lader dyscudhys ‘before the thief is/was discovered’

But we may only say, for instance, kyns ès departya ‘before leaving’, awos strechya ‘because of delaying’, heb skydnya mes a’n bùss ‘without getting off the bus’. We cannot add a possessive pronoun or subject-noun to these expressions. We must instead employ an infinitive construction; kyns ès my dhe dhepartya, for instance, as first introduced in Book Two, Lesson Seventeen.

It is true that dictionaries have tended in the past to classify Cornish prepositions as conjunctions whenever the corresponding word is a conjunction in English. This only creates confusion about the nature of the Cornish words themselves.

Miscellaneous inflected forms

In addition to the inflected forms we have already learned, there are a few tense forms that occur in all registers of Cornish, and these should now be noted.

The verb clôwes has a present tense form clôwyth ‘you hear’ that occurs in the common questions A’m clôwyth? ‘Can you hear me?’ and A’gan clôwyth? ‘Can you hear us?’ Notice how Cornish, like most languages, though unlike English, is not compelled to employ a word for ‘can’ in questions involving verbs of perception; it is a matter of personal choice and style. We may remark here two old present subjunctives clêwfyf (‘I’ form) and clêwfo (‘he/she’ form).

The verb côwsel has present-future tense forms me a gôws etc ‘I talk / I will talk’ that may be used in affirmative statements. Distinguish from the noun cows ‘talk’ without a diacritical mark.

The verb wharvos has a present-future tense form wher used in affirmative statements and questions. For example, pandra wher? ‘what’s happening?’ and y wher avorow ‘it’s taking place tomorrow’.

Three verbs have ‘special future’ forms that may be used in affirmative statements. They are formed using vëdh (future tense of bos) as a suffix, and so always carry future meaning. Here are the forms: me a welvyth etc ‘I will see’ etc, me a wodhvyth etc ‘I will know’ etc, and me a ylvyth etc ‘I will be able to’ etc. The last of these may be pronounced with medial w instead of medial v, but this is not usually represented in the spelling.

Meaning of clôwes

This is a good place to remark that the verb clôwes can mean ‘hear’ or ‘smell’ or ‘taste’ or ‘feel (by touch)’ depending on context; in other words, it really means ‘perceive’ by any of the five senses except sight. Contrast convedhes which means ‘perceive’ with the mind. Note also omglôwes + adjective ‘feel (that one is in a particlar state)’. For example, omglôwes clâv ‘feel ill’ and omglôwes saw ‘feel safe’.

Verbs with few or no inflected forms

Some verbs have few inflections or none at all, even in the highest registers of Cornish.

Verb-nouns ending in a or essa denoting hunting-gathering are wholly without inflection. For example, pyskessa ‘go fishing’, mora ‘go berry picking’ (not to be confused with mora ‘put to sea’). Prenassa is a modern coinage by analogy.

Properly, the verb-noun convedhes ‘perceive, comprehend’ has no inflection, except for a verbal adjective convedhys, though a preterite me a gonvedhas etc is occasionally found. The verb-noun was formed to an old inflecting verb which is now defunct. In order to express the meaning of convedhes in inflected fashion we use the phrase godhvos convedhes, inflecting godhvos and treating convedhes as fixed. Nor’vy convedhes hebma, for instance, means ‘I don’t get it’, referring to an idea or a joke.

It is not always possible to treat convedhes and ùnderstondya 'understand' as fully interchangeable. Convedhes is about the moment; ùnderstondya is more of an on-going thing. Ùnderstondya comes with a useful abstract noun ùnderstondyng.

Verbs borrowed from Breton or Welsh that have a verb-noun ending in vocalic y very rarely inflect, except for a verbal adjective. Occasionally they form a ‘he/she’ preterite ending in as.

Verbs borrowed from English (usually with a verb-noun ending ya or yas) very rarely inflect, except for a verbal adjective, and a ‘he/she’ preterite form ending in as. It is possible to form a you (singular) inflected imperative for these verbs, but gwait is about the only one with any currency. With a verb like ponya it will generally be better to say gwra ponya! rather than poon! unless things are very urgent (see Exercise 70). Me a sopos occurs once in Bêwnans Ke.

Pronoun na + Third State mutation

We are familiar with the general negative particle na. And the conjunctions na ‘nor’ and na ‘if not’ (irrealis only). There is one more na, which is followed by Third State mutation. We first met it in Book Two, Lesson Ten. It is a worn-down form of neb ‘some’, and is found in just a few words and phrases. Here they are. As well as na fors some have cropped up previously as vocabulary items.

na felha

With express negative verb: any farther / further, any longer

With implied negative verb: no farther / further, no longer

na fors

With express negative verb: Does not occur

With implied negative verb: no matter (literally ‘no force’)

na hen

With express negative verb: otherwise

With implied negative verb: Does not occur

na whath

With express negative verb: yet

With implied negative verb: not yet


With express negative verb: often

With implied negative verb: not often


With express negative verb: much

With implied negative verb: not much


With express negative verb: any more, anymore

With implied negative verb: no more


With express negative verb: a long time, a long while

With implied negative verb: Does not occur, save in kyns napell

Some Cornish speakers imagine that, because this na so often appears to take on a negative sense from an implied negative verb, it must be the same as negative particle na. But Third State revealed in na felha and na hen makes clear we are dealing with a different word. Napell is exceptional – here Third State is suppressed, hence we write it as one word. Kyns napell ‘before long’ is a common way of saying ‘soon’.

There is also a fixed phrase ha na hens ‘and not before’ or ‘at the earliest’, which (like kyns napell) relies on an implied negative verb for its meaning. Here hens is Third State of kyns but the spelling with is the only one found when the word is employed in this particular expression.

Finally you should remember the colloquial alternative nampëth to usual neppëth ‘something, anything’. It is likely that nam (from neb) is an intermediate development that eventually led to na, with Third State being the phonetic consequence of lost m.


Here are some more new words.

adhyscans education, arhasa fund, bachelerieth baccalaureate, campùs campus, comen voys consensus, completh complicated, conceyt concept, damcanieth theory, determyans determination, decision, conclusion, dôwys choice, selection, dyskerghyans gravitation, dyskerheth gravity, jeneral general (adjective and masculine noun), kesgwlasek international, natur m & f nature, nôcyon notion, ollkebmyn universal, general, perthynecter relativity, professour professor, qwantùm quantum, sciensek scientific, Studhyans Cryjyk Religious Studies, teknologieth technology, term (technical) term, termynologieth terminology, testscrif certificate, trailya translate (also turn), voward vanguard, wheffesor sixth former, whythrans exploration, research, investigation

Practys Êtek warn UgansExercise Thirty Eight

Demelsa a wrug perswâdya Professour Moyle, hùmbrynkyas Adran an Fysyk in Ûnyversyta Kernow (Campùs Trûrû), dhe wil areth dhe’n Gowethas a’n tavas Kernowek adro dhe’n whel formya termow rag an sciencys. Yma Demelsa ow metya gans an den-ma kyns an areth rag y wolcùbma ha rag desky nebes a’n pëth a vydn ev derivas.

Professour Moyle:

Wèl, my a welvyth agas cowethas wosa nebes mynysow. A vÿdh oll an woslowysy ow longya dhe’n Wheffes Class? Hag a wodhons y convedhes mar mannaf kêwsel nebes adro dhe’n Fysyk?


In gwrioneth, nâ ha nâ. An brâssa radn a’n wolsowysy a vëdh Wheffesoryon, saw y fëdh esely ena a’n bledhydnyow erel magata. Ha nyns usy pùb huny ow studhya Fysyk.

Professour Moyle:

Wèl ny wrav vy arethya fest teknegyl. Bohes calcorieth! Y fedhons y owth ùnderstondya yn tâ lowr, orth level an tybyansow aga honen. Nyns eus dhymm dowt anodho! My a vynn campolla an dyskerheth – an lies damcanieth i’n tor’-ma tùchyng natur an dyskerghyans. Yma tybyans Einstein ha’y Dhamcanieth Jeneral a’n Perthynecter. Mès nowetha nôcyons a dhyskerheth qwantùm a vÿdh dhe les agas scoloryon kefrÿs, dell gresaf. Y whra dysqwedhes fatell yller ûsya Kernowek i’n jëdh hedhyw rag conceytys eus in voward an sciencys.


A vydnowgh styrya whel termynologieth fatl’yw hebma arayes? Whensys on ny dhe wodhvos pyw eus ow qwil an lies determyans, ha’n vaner formya comen voys dhe bùb udn qwestyon.

Professour Moyle:

Wèl pòr gompleth yw solabrÿs. Mès my a wra derivas nebes a’n istory – fatla veu stappys kemerys i’n dedhyow avarr. An kensa whel o scrifa lyfryow desky rag TODN ha Level A ha Bachelerieth Kesgwlasek ha CANT. Ytho scoloryon, kepar ha why, a veu poynt a dhallath rag oll an dra.


Soweth, nyns eus descadoryon lowr na whath rag ûsya an lyfryow-ma. Dre rêson nag eus mona lowr rag arhasa strêmys Kernowek ha Sowsnek dybarow i’n scolyow nessa. Ny wrug vy desky ma’s dew GCSE dre vain an Kernowek. Studhyans Cryjyk. Ha Kernowek y honen. Ha’gan scol in Trûrû kyn fe. Yma dorydhieth dhe dhesky obma in Kernowek, saw nyns o radn a’m dôwys. Esowgh why lebmyn ow côwsel Kernowek i’gas whythrans pùb jorna?

Professour Moyle:

Wèl, dell wodhowgh, pùb kescùssulyans, pùb scrif hag yw dyllys, y fÿdh Sowsnek an yêth, poken ev a vëdh in neb tavas aral yw kêwsys gans lies huny. Ha namna vÿdh pùb areth sciensek, hedhyw dhe’n lyha, i’gan ûnyversyta omma in Kernow gwrës in Sowsnek in ketelma. Y whra chaunjya neb dëdh martesen, mès scant ny vÿdh a verr spÿs. Byttele, kynth eus cals calcorieth i’n Fysyk arnowyth, bysy pùpprÿs yw trailya an galcorieth dhe eryow nes dhe’n re yw ûsys wàr vin an bobel gemmyn. I’gan kevadran ny, pàn viv a’m eseth gans cowethysy yw Kernowegoryon, ha pot a goffy dâ intredhon, dre vrâs yth on ny lowen dhe geskêwsel a’gan whel in Kernowek.


Ha ny lowen dres ehen, ow profya wolcùm dhywgh i’gan scol.

The University of Cornwall exists, alas, only in Demelsa’s part of the multiverse. Cornwall might well be a rather different place if it had a university embracing all academic disciplines. The University of Wales has played an important role in the development of the Welsh language. Geiriadur Termau was published in 1973, coordinating the efforts of many people engaged in education in Wales who had produced lists of terms required for the teaching of school subjects through the medium of Welsh. In Demelsa’s Cornwall something similar happened for Cornish. It is a tried and tested method for making a sound start in the much broader field of technical terminology.

As we know, TODN is short for Testscrif Ollkemmyn an Dyscans Nessa (GCSE). CANT stands for Consel Adhyscans Negys ha Teknologieth and corresponds to the English abbreviation BTEC.

The preposition dre vain ‘by means of’ works like dre rêson, becoming dre vain a when used with a verb-noun or demonstrative pronoun.

There is further explanation of kyn fe in Lesson Twelve. 

Verbal adjectives not ending in ys

Now is a good moment to review the verbal adjectives that do not end straightforwardly in ys.

First, there are verbal adjectives corresponding to verb-nouns ending in ya that has been added to the root. These verbal adjectives have an optional form yes alongside ys. The two are used interchangeably. For instance, redyes alongside redys, corresponding to verb-noun redya.

Secondly, there are verbs with stems ending in consonantal y where that sound is part of the root. These always form their verbal adjective in es. For example, arayes formed to araya.

Thirdly, there are verbs with stems ending in vocalic (spelled i before another vowel). These likewise form their verbal adjective always in es. For example, aspies formed to aspia and gwaries formed to gwary. Lastly, there are verbs with stems ending in e. Here the last letter of the stem contracts with the ending to form ës. For example, degës formed to degea. Verb-nouns built with suffix he fall into this category, so gwelhës for instance, corresponding to verb-noun gwelhe.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Nine

Click or tap here




Questions of quantity / degree

In English we combine ‘how’ with an adjective to ask a question of degree or quantity: how big, how long, how wide, how deep, how much, how many, etc. Cornish does not have a comparable universal method for forming questions of this kind. There is the word pygebmys ‘how much’ (less frequently, ‘how many’). There is another single word meaning ‘how many’, namely pes, which is always followed by a singular noun. There are the fixed expressions pan[a] lies and py lies ‘how many’, py seul ‘how much’ (less frequently, ‘how many’), pan lower torn ‘how often’. Pesqweyth likewise means ‘how often’. Other questions are generally made with abstract nouns wherever the quantity can be measured, and with adjectives for essentially unmeasurable degrees.

Here are some examples.


Pana vrâster yw Lÿs Kernow?

How big is New County Hall?

Pygebmys hës vëdh an geyfordh?

How long will the tunnel be?

Py seul hirder yw darn corden?

How long is a piece of string?

Py seul les yw an ryver?

How wide is the river?

Pan downder o an pyssîn?

How deep was the swimming pool?

Essentially unmeasurable

Pan and pana are employed directly in front of an adjective.

Pan lowen osta hedhyw i’n jëdh?

How happy are you these days?

Pana serrys o va?

How angry was he?

And on the basis of a similar construction in Welsh we can combine py with mar ‘so’. For example:

Py mar beryllys o hedna?

How dangerous was that?

By convention derived from the historical evidence, py seul pellder means ‘how far’ (distance) and pana bellder means ‘how long’ (time).

Distinguish the two different nouns les in Py seul les yw an ryver? ‘How wide is the river?’ and Py seul les yw an ryver dhis (dhyn etc) ‘How interesting is the river?’

Exclamations with question words

We learned in Book Two that an exclamation comprising a whole sentence may be introduced by particle assa followed by Second State (ass before a vowel). Cornish can also use an exclamatory question phrase in the same way that we do in English. So pan lowen on ny! means the same as ass on ny lowen! ‘how happy we are!’


Here are some more new words.

dîvya dive, dystemprys upset, frobmus nervous, galon gallon, gorsaf bùssow bus station, kildro recession, lîter litre

Practys Nawnjek warn UgansExercise Thirty Nine

How do we say the following in Cornish?

How high is the diving board? How wide was the lake? How deep will the recession be? How many tickets are still available? How big are the pizzas here? How far is the bus station from here? How long will the film be? How upset is she? How nervous were you before the interview? How much is a gallon in litres?

Subject / object questions

In all of the questions that we have examined so far in this Lesson, the question word or phrase has been the ‘predicate’. It is also possible for the question word or phrase to be the subject or the direct object of the sentence. In such a case we have long known that we connect the question word or phrase to the verb with link particle a.

Here are some examples.

Pyw a wainyas?

Who won?

Pëth a vynta gwil?

What will you do?

Pygebmys a wrussowgh spêna?

How much did you spend?

Pan lies a vydnyn ûsya?

How many will we be using?

We also know that link particle a is not used before forms of bos or mos beginning with a vowel. And that pandra is followed directly by Second State mutation without a particle. For example, pyw eus (or usy) ow qwainya? ‘who is winning?’ and pandra vynta prena? ‘what are you going to buy?’

Oblique questions

There are also questions where the question word or phrase is in an adverbial relationship to the verb. It is neither the subject nor the direct object of the verb, but instead asks about the ‘how’, the ‘where’, the ‘when’, the ‘why’. Such questions are said to be ‘oblique’.

We already know that fatell and fatla ‘how’ are followed directly by Second State mutation, without any particle.

We also know that ple ‘where’ and peur ‘when’ are followed directly by Fifth State mutation. This is a ‘trace’ of affirmative particle y. It is still half-visible in ple ma and ple mowns (notionally ple yma and ple ymowns); also in pleth (notionally ple yth) that we otherwise use before vowels and h. But all trace of affirmative particle has vanished when we say peur esos, peur usy, peur êth, etc.

Finally, we know that affirmative particle y (or, colloquially, link particle a) is used after prag ‘why’, as in prag y whrug (a wrug) ev hockya? ‘why did he hesitate? And that after prag we always employ yma and ymowns, not eus, usy, usons. The approach we take with prag in fact reveals the method employed generally in Cornish for all oblique questions, except those employing fatell, fatla, ple or peur. Here are a few examples.

Pan gradh osta lowen hedhyw i’n jëdh?

How happy are you these days?

Py gradh / pygebmys [yth] o va serrys?

How angry was he?

In these first two instances you can see an alternative method for asking questions of essentially immeasurable degree.

Pygebmys y fydnons (a vydnons) y whythra an pëth a wharva in gwrioneth?

How much will they be looking into what really happened?

Pan uhelder a wra an fusen mos?

How high will the rocket go?

Py seul pellder [yth] yw res dhybm ponya?

How far must I run?

Py tyller [yth] eses jy trigys?

Where were you living?

Pana dermyn [a] vëdh an prës ly?

When will lunch be?

The last sentence is taken from Book Two, where we learned that particle is often dropped after pana dermyn but Second State mutation remains.

You will recall that questions with pan and pana show a very strong preference for link particle over affirmative particle y; so that oblique questions introduced by these words may even select eus, usy, usons instead of yma, ymowns. If link particle a is notionally selected, then as usual it does not actually appear before vowels in forms of bos and mos.


Here are some more new words.

airen aircraft, crowseryow pl crossword, cùbert cupboard, locker, petrol petrol, tresour treasure

Practys DêwgansExercise Forty 

What do these sentences mean?

Py tyller y whrewgh esedha? Pana dermyn a vynta departya? Py qwartron y whrussons y mos? Pan uhelder y hyll an airen neyja? Pan rêson a wrug an yar mos dres an fordh? Pana bellder a vëdh otham bos i’n clojy? Py fordh yw gwell genes y wil? Prag y’n gwrussys? Prag a wrussys? Py cales a garsowgh my dhe scrifa an crowseryow?

Prepositional questions

In English we may put a preposition before a question word or phrase. For instance, ‘Through which door did he come?’ But this approach has become rare in modern English, being retained only for the most elevated registers.

In everyday English we put the preposition at the end of the question instead. So we say ‘Which door did he come through?’ Cornish uses this second method generally, in all registers, high to low. But if the preposition has personal forms, then the personal form must be employed (masculine reference, save when the gender is already clear). Here are some examples.

Pan daras a wrug ev dos dredho?

Through which door did he come? or

Which door did he come through?

Pana gyst a vynta gorra hebma ino?

In what box are you going to put this? or

What box are you going to put this in?

Py bës yma hy ow qwysca hy bysow warnodho?

On which finger does she wear her ring? or

Which finger does she wear her ring on?

Pan lies tavern a wrussowgh drîvya drestans?

Past how many pubs did you drive? or

How many pubs did you drive past?

Pyneyl a’n dhew dhen yw an maw hirha ès ev?

Than which of the two men is the boy taller? or

Which of the two men is the boy taller than?

In higher registers, when affirmative particle is not replaced by link particle a and when the personal form of the preposition we are using is an older inflected form (dhodho rather than dhe ev, for instance), we may place the preposition immediately after the question word or phrase instead of postponing it to the end. This is a purely stylistic decision. So we might also say:

Py bës warnodho yma hy ow qwysca hy bysow?

‘On which finger does she wear her ring?’

Pyw preceded by preposition

Apart from fixed phrases a ble and in pan vaner, only pyw of all the question words and phrases may be preceded by a preposition, and usually only by dhe or gans.

If therefore we wish to say ‘Who did you give your old car to?’, all of these sentences will be possible. They are arranged in descending order of register. Only the last two of them are in conversational style.

Dhe byw y whrusta gwertha dha garr coth?

Pyw dhodho y whrusta gwertha dha garr coth?

Pyw y whrusta gwertha dha garr coth dhodho?

Dhe byw a wrusta gwertha dha garr coth?

Pyw a wrusta gwertha dha garr coth dhodho?

Likewise for ‘By whom was the car purchased?’ or ‘Who was the car bought by?’ we can say any of the following:

Gans pyw y feu an carr prenys?

Pyw ganso y feu an carr prenys?

Pyw y feu an carr prenys ganso?

Gans (or gèn) pyw a veu an carr prenys?

Pyw a veu an carr prenys ganso?

Pynag not preceded by preposition

We may note here that pynag is subject to the same rule that it may not be preceded by a preposition. So we say, for example, pynag oll daras a vednowgh mos dredho, why a wrewgh dos i’n kethsam rom brâs ‘through whichever door you go (or whichever door you go through, you come into the same big room’.

Asking ‘where from’

Question phrase a ble (also a byle) ‘where from’ is followed by Fifth State mutation, with yma reduced to ma, just as after ple ‘where’. But a ble is used before all verbs, including those beginning with a vowel or h. For example, a ble fydn dos? ‘where will it come from?’, likewise a ble ma’n mona ow tos (Lesson Seven) and a ble osta devedhys? (Book One, Lesson Fifteen).

Practys Onen ha DêwgansExercise Forty One 

What do these sentences mean?

A byle teuth an pla? Pyw y whrussons y metya ganso in Bosvena de? Pana dermyn wrewgh why desky worteweth? Py cùbert ino y whrusta cafos hedna? Pan tavas usons y ow tesky dorydhieth dredho? Pana betrol a wrug ev lenwel an carr anodho? Py pons warnodho a wren ny mos dres an ryver? Py tyller y whrav vy trouvya an tresour? Pana gân a rusta clôwes an lavar-na etto? Pana vor ellyn ny dos an mena warra?

mena is a colloquial form of meneth and usually means no more than ‘hill’

warra is a colloquial form of awartha

Negative particle in open questions

As a general rule we use particle ny in all negative open questions, with two important exceptions. But particle na may be substituted for ny in the most colloquial registers.

Fatell and fatla are an exception. Because these words cannot be followed by any particle, a negative question must be expressed by paraphrase. For instance:

Fatell allaf vy heb acceptya y alow? or

Fatell allaf vy sconya y alow?

How can I not accept his invitation?

Fatla wrussons y fyllel dhe weles hedna?

How did they not see that?

Literally ‘How did they fail to see that?’

A negative prag question is also exceptional. Here na is the only option for all registers. And prag na is unusual also in its ability to function as the stand-alone phrase ‘why not’ that we have known since Book One. This is one of only two occasions when a particle may be left ‘hanging’ at the end of an utterance. See Lesson Thirteen for the other ( na).

With any question word or phrase meaning ‘where’ or ‘when’ we may alternatively use a more emphatic relative construction.

Here are some examples of all these principles.

Pan trevow in Kernow a wrussys ôstya inans?

Hâ! py tre ny wrug vy ôstya inhy? In pùb tre y whrug ôstya!

What towns in Cornwall have you stayed in?

Ha! what town have I not stayed in? I’ve stayed in all of them!

Pëth na rug e gwil compes dhan?

What didn't he do right then?

Fatell wharva na wrussowgh merkya an toll hûjes-na in cres an fordh?

How did you not notice that huge pothole in the middle of the road?

Prag na ylly Maghteth an Lusow gortos dres hanter-nos orth nosweyth an dauns?

Why could Cinderella not stay at the ball beyond midnight?  

Py gradh nyns owgh acordys gans an dhamcanieth-ma?

To what extent do you not agree with this theory?

Peur ny vedhys re vysy rag cows?

When will you not be too busy to talk?

Peur yw erhys [ma] na yllyn ny entra?

When have we been told we can’t go in?

Ple eus ma na yllyn ny esedha?

Where is it we’re not allowed to sit?

Take careful note of the last example, which is anomalous. It is the only circumstance where we find eus used with ple. Notionally the sentence is ple ma, ma na yllyn ny esedha? but eus replaces the first ma on pragmatic grounds, and without change of ple to pleth as might have been expected.


Here are some more new words.

adenewen sideways (also aside), assay attempt, test, rehearsal, avîsyans m notification (also advice), awhêr distress, bagas ilow (musical) band, barber barber, cher mood, contrary contrary, corolly dance, dybos trivial, flows nonsense, gwarnyans warning, gwil devnyth a utilize, make use of, hebaskhe calm down, iffarn hell, informatyk ICT, jazz jazz, leegy locate, lyfror librarian, mebyl col furniture, menystrans administration, namnygen just now, a moment ago, qwyz quiz, remuvya remove, sacra dedicate, snobyn snob, spyrys m spirit, sterycks pl hysterics, strolla litter, toth men quickly (emphatic), yêhes ha sawder health and safety

awotta is an emphatic alternative to otta; likewise awot may be used emphatically instead of ot

nes means ‘nearer’; also used in the sense ‘at all’ with an express negative verb

Practys Dew ha DêwgansExercise Forty Two

What do these sentences mean?

Alys yw spyrys an gool – py kyffewy ny’s gwelsys inans? Py tyller yma nag usons y ow strolla dresto? Ple ny wrav vy dos warbydn boosty borgers i’n bÿs? Ny wòn i’n bÿs prag na wrusta leverel moy avarr. Peur dhis ny wrussyn revrons vëth?

The phrase i’n bÿs (literally ‘in the world’) operates to intensify a question or to convert what may still be an emphatic question in English into a declaration of utter bafflement in Cornish.

Practys Try ha DêwgansExercise Forty Three

Here is an exercise which can serve as a summary of various idiomatic uses of heb ‘without’. What do these sentences mean?

My a cessyas heb mos dhe’n barber na felha, rag êsya yw trehy ow blew ow honen. Gwell vëdh heb gwil mencyon a hedna. Res yw dhedhy heb drîvya wàr an bond plat-na. Fatl’o va heb convedhes oll an awhêr esen vy ow perthy? Y wreg a dhybarthas orto heb ev dhe wodhvos praga.

The use of heb with an infinitive construction in the last sentence is a modern innovation. Historical Cornish employed a ma na clause instead. Therefore we could also say Y wreg a dhybarthas orto, ma na wor (or wodhya) ev praga. But only context tells us this is not a result clause, so the older usage is best confined nowadays to higher registers.

Heb was once followed by Second State mutation. A few instances survive as optional alternatives: heb dhanjer ‘unreservedly’, heb dhowt and heb wow ‘without doubt’, heb dhyweth and heb worfen ‘endlessly’.

Practys Peswar ha DêwgansExercise Forty Four

Cowethas an Tavas Kernowek a wrug trevna qwyz adro dhe’n wonysegeth a Gernow. Peur wher? Haneth. Ple wher? In gwaryjy an Scol. Saw hedhyw hanter-dëdh y whrug Mêstres Combellack derivas orth Demelsa fatell esa otham a’n gwaryjy rag assaya kyns ès gool jazz yw towlednys dhe’n Unegves Bledhen nessa seythen. Alys a’s teves sterycks.


Govy! Prag na veu derivys orta ny pell alebma? Bagas ilow an Unegves Bledhen! Hag udn assay dybos glân! Pan rêson a vëdh neb assay moy y bris ès wharvedhyans agan Cowethas? Ha dhe byw a’n jowl yma les in jazz na felha bytegyns? Cas ywa gena vy!


Ogh taw dhe'n flows. Ewn cher p’o dhys, pana vûsyk na vëdh kerys teg gena jy? Gwra hebaskhe. Ma otham pedery ’denewen. Py plâss y fëdh possybyl leegy an qwyz dhodho?


Nor’vy màn. Brâs lowr yw lies rom class. Saw dar ny via uthyk dyfreth? Pàn ven ny oll a’gan eseth in stevel leun a daclow neb isella Bledhen?


Awotta voys Snobyn Meur an Wheffes Class! Saw ny yllyn naneyl gwil devnyth a hel an sport – meur re vrâs yw. Ha sur ny worama cafos cubmyas dhodho heb moy gwarnyans.


Mêster Jenner!


Pywa? Mêster Jenner? Pëth in y gever? Pandra vynta lawl?


Y whrug hebma gweres dhèm ow scrifa oll an qwestyons. Ha’n Lyfror yw ev. Gas ny dhe besy a sensy an qwyz in lyverva an Scol.


Ny vëdh adhevîs, saw dâ lowr martesen. Pes studhyor, dell yw ûsys, eus ow qwil whel i’n lyverva warlergh an lessons – pymthek, ugans? An re-ma a res remuvya bys in onen a’n rômys informatyk. Gas vy dhe wovyn yn pòr cortes.

(Dewhelys wosa deg mynysen) Iffarn tan! Ny yller ûsya an lyverva! Jenner a lever lyverva an Scol dell yw sacrys dhe whel academyk. Yn medh: “Studhya yw brâssa y bris pùpprës ages gwythres frank.” Ass yw cales lùck!


Nag yw nes. Ny vern! Keverne-Ny-Vern! Hy a ros cubmyas namnygen metya in hy rom dauncya – may ma’n bobel ow tesky corolly. Ny a yll kerhes try bord ha plenta chairys a neb plâss aral. Cudyn vëth ytho!


Nyny dhe dhon mebyl? Contrary dhe Yêhes ha Sawder yw hedna. Kê toth men dhe Menystrans rag govyn may halla an Scol y wil. My a vydn radna avîsyans a’n chaunj. Grâss pùb descadores dauns dhe Dhuw!

Govy contains gu ‘woe’ and means ‘Oh no!’ in the sense ‘Alas! from the point of view of the speaker. Gojy, goev, gohy, gony, gowhy, goy all exist as well, but govy is the only frequently heard form in modern Cornish.

Pyw a’n jowl (also spelled pyw an jowl) is a fixed expression meaning ‘whoever’ in an emphatic question. Pywa? is an alternative to simple Pyw? as a stand-alone question. Some use Pywa? as an equivalent of English ‘What!’ expressing surprise, but this is based on mistranslation of a line in Creation of the World.

Taw dhe’n flows! means ‘Don’t talk (literally silence to the) nonsense!’

The low-register contraction p’o stands for pàn vo.

Grammatically py plâss works exactly like py tyller.

Stevel is an old word that originally meant ‘dining suite’. Early revivalists mistook it for a singular and applied it, under the influence of Welsh, to any kind of room. Nowadays we generally say rom. Alys probably uses stevel here in order to load her language with heavy l-assonance emphasizing her disapproval.

Pandra vynta leverel? (colloquially pandra vynta lawl?) is the usual way of asking ‘What do you mean?’

Ny vëdh adhevîs means ‘it won’t be ideal’.

We first met dell yw ûsys in Book Two. It means both ‘as usual’ and ‘usually’ (referring to the present). When referring to the past we use dell o ûsys. Another expression with the same meanings is warlergh ûsadow.

Me a res or more formal y res dhybm (where res is a verb ‘be necessary’) can replace the construction res yw dhybm (where res is a noun ‘necessity’). Likewise me a resa or y resa dhybm can be employed instead of res o dhybm.

The opposite of lùck dâ is cales lùck ‘hard (bad) luck’. The adjective always precedes the noun in this expression, probably under the influence of English.

Keverne-Ny-Vern is the nickname of teacher Miss Keverne, presumably because she is always saying Ny vern!

Emphatic personal pronouns

The specifically emphatic personal pronouns are ma vy, ta jy or dhejy, eev, hyhy, nyny, whywhy, ynsy.

All except ma vy and ta jy may be used as subjects after an inflected verb, with an inflected preposition, or to reinforce a possessive pronoun. They retain their emphatic quality in all registers, in contrast to vy, jy etc which have largely lost their original emphatic sense in modern Cornish.

The forms ma vy and ta jy are used only as subjects with inflected verbs that already have a formation ending in ma or ta respectively. They are more colloquial in character, and tend to lose their original emphatic quality unless given particular stress. So we say, for example, ny worama or ny worama vy; the latter only slightly more emphatic than the former; but gaining in emphasis if we pronounce it as ny worama vy.

In the very first Lesson of Book One we encountered tejy as an apparently independent word. But in a conversational exchange like Fatla genes? reply Dâ lowr. Ha tejy? the final phrase is better regarded as an idiomatic abbreviation, standing for Ha fatla genes dhejy? Compare Nyny ow ton mebyl? in Exercise 44, clipped from notional A vedhyn nyny ow ton mebyl?

An emphatic personal pronoun may perhaps be justifiably used as a subject connected to the verb by the link particle, on the pattern of anjy (which may be derived from ynsy). But it will be better to treat a sentence such as Tejy a wra gà don as belonging strictly to colloquial usage. The way to express an emphatic ‘You will carry it’ in formal Cornish is Te yw an gwas (or other suitable noun) a wra gà don.

You should bear in mind that ynsy is not directly attested historically. For this reason some may prefer to use an re-ma or an re-na instead, as the subject of a verb; and merely laying extra stress on personal pronoun y in other cases. For example, an re-ma a’n gwrug might be preferred to y’n gwrussons ynsythey did it’, while we may be content with gansans y rather than gansans ynsy ‘along with / by them’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Ten

Click or tap here 




Telling people what to do

In English we order someone to do something. In Cornish, employing erhy ‘order’, we express the person to whom the order is given with dhe (or with an infixed pronoun) and the thing that is to be done with the verb-noun, which can optionally be preceded by preposition a. For example, an capten a erhys dhe’n soudoryon omsettya ‘the captain ordered the soldiers to attack’. Alternatively, we may employ may with the subjunctive: an capten a erhys may whrella an soudoryon omsettya.

When we use the subjunctive of bos, we select present subjunctive if the order is present or future, imperfect subjunctive if the order is past. For instance, yma an lev jynek owth erhy may fo an dremenysy war a’n aswy ‘the automated voice warns passengers to mind the gap’, contrasting with an lev jynek a erhys may fe an dremenysy war a’n aswy.

The subjunctive construction, introduced by na, is the only way of expressing a negative order. For example, my a’n erhys na wrella qwyttya an rom ‘I ordered him not to leave the room’.

An impersonal construction is used when someone ‘is told’ to do something. For instance, y feu erhys dhyn growedha ‘we were ordered to lie down’.

We can use comondya ‘command’ exactly like erhy.

We tend, in English, to reserve the words ‘order’ and ‘command’ for military situations, or for relationships where one person makes no secret of being superior to another. Otherwise it is much more common to use the word ‘tell’. The same phenomenon occurs in Cornish, where the commonest verb in this context is leverel, always employed with may or na and the subjunctive when the sense is one of ordering. For example, an dhescadores a lavaras may whrella an flehes hy holya ‘the teacher told the children to follow her’.


Here are some more new words.

amyttya admit (all senses), bônùs bonus, byldyans building, delyfrya release (also deliver), errour error, mistake, kerdhes [in] aray march, keswel m & f interview, manovra manoeuvre, serjont sergeant, sevel dhelergh stand back, sevel stag stop, tregor resident

camomdhegyans garow is ‘gross misconduct’

dylla means ‘emit’ and ‘publish’; also ‘fire’ an employee

omryddya a neppëth means ‘get rid of something’

Practys Pymp ha DêwgansExercise Forty Five

How would you say the following in Cornish?

The general orders the army to advance. The sergeant will command his men to march. I told you first of all to finish your homework. The guard commanded the prisoners to halt. The residents were ordered to leave the building immediately.


If we merely request someone to do something, we may use pesy ‘pray, ask’, expressing the person to whom the request is given with orth (or an infixed pronoun) and the thing that is to be done with the verb-noun, which can optionally be preceded by preposition a. For example, an descador a besys orth an class a dewel ‘the teacher asked the class to be quiet’. Or we may use the subjunctive in the same way as for erhy. For instance, an descador a besys na wrella an class kebmys tros ‘the teacher asked the class not to make so much noise’.

We can use govyn ‘ask’ in a similar fashion. But we do not employ infixed pronouns with govyn, and the thing that is requested is always expressed as the direct obect (that is, preposition a cannot be inserted before the verb-noun). For example, me a wovyn orto degea an fenester ‘I’ll ask him to close the window’.

Once again we use an impersonal construction to say ‘is asked’. The preposition is generally omitted when pesy is used in this way. For instance, y fëdh pesys ortans dry botel dhe’n kyffewy ‘they’ll be asked to bring a bottle to the party’.

Practys Whe ha DêwgansExercise Forty Six

How would you say the following in Cornish?

She asked to go to the toilet. The policeman is going to ask everyone to stand well back. We had asked him to give us an interview. Ask them nicely to stop bothering us. I’m once again asking you to cooperate.

Compelling, encouraging, inspiring, persuading, provoking, urging

A whole group of verbs share the same construction. Employing constrîna ‘force’ or ‘compel’, spyrysegy ‘encourage’, inspîrya ‘inspire’, perswâdya ‘persuade’ or ‘convince’, provôkya ‘provoke’, inia ‘urge’, we express the person who is compelled or urged or persuaded as the direct object and the thing that is to be done with the verb-noun preceded by dhe. Here are some examples.

Ny a vydn constrîna an envy dhe omry.

We shall force the enemy to surrender.

Yma ev ow spyrysegy y vab wydn dhe vysytya Chîna.

He’s encouraging his grandson to visit China.

An prownter a wrug hy inspîrya dhe vos redyores leg.

The priest inspired her to become a lay reader.

Ow whor a’m berswâdyas dhe jaunjya oll ow howntnans.

My sister persuaded me to change my whole attitude.

Ny a wrug y brovôkya dhe omlath.

We provoked him to fight.

Mabm ha Tas a’m iny pùb eur oll dhe bredery a’n termyn a dheu.

My parents will always urge me to think of the future.

In the case of inia we may alternatively express the thing that is urged as the direct object, using preposition wàr for the person urged. For example, an descador a wrug inia warnaf studhya yn tywysyk ‘the teacher urged me to study hard’.

We use na with the subjunctive when compelling or urging or persuading someone not to do something. For example, my a’s perswâdyas na vednons croffolas ‘I persuaded them not to complain’.

Practys Seyth ha DêwgansExercise Forty Seven

How would you say the following in Cornish?

I forced them to admit they were wrong. They encouraged me to apply for the job. She inspired me to become a nurse. I convinced him to put down the knife. The police are urging us not to drive dangerously on the icy roads.


We have long been using gasa in sentences like Gas vy dhe weles! ‘Let me see!’ This is essentially the same construction as we employ for compelling, urging, persuading. But when we express the idea of allowing or permitting with alowa, the grammar is different, with the thing permitted being expressed as the direct object, and dhe used with the person who is allowed. For example, A vynta alowa dhedhy gwil ges ahanas? ‘Are you going to let her make a fool of you?’ Impersonally, Yth yw alowys dhywgh gwil udn qwestyon ‘you’re allowed to ask one question’.

Another way of expressing permission is to use the noun cubmyas. This employs dhe both for the person and the thing that is permitted. For example, an mêster a ros cubmyas dhe’n wesyon dhe gafos tùch tê moy ès ûsadow ‘the boss permitted the staff more tea breaks than usual’. It is however possible to omit dhe before the thing permitted, treating it as ‘in apposition’ to the permission itself. So an mêster a ros cubmyas dhe’n wesyon cafos tùch tê moy ès ûsadow would not be incorrect.

We must use na with the subjunctive when something is permitted not to be done. For example, de Gwener yma cubmyas na vednyn gwysca colm ‘on Fridays we’re allowed not to wear a tie’.

Practys Eth ha DêwgansExercise Forty Eight

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Don’t let one mistake ruin your life! Sometimes the driver permits disabled passengers to get off the bus right outside their house. I can’t allow you to do that. Are we allowed to fish here? You must allow him no room to manoeuvre.


Comendya has a broad sense-range: ‘commend’, ‘recommend’, ‘approve’. It is also used socially to mean ‘introduce’ someone to someone else. When we wish to make clear we are giving a specific recommendation, it is best to employ the verb with may or na and the subjunctive. For example, me a gomendyas may fednons vysytya barber ‘I recommended they visit a barber.’ Contrast me a gomendyas tell wrussons vysytya barber ‘I approved of the fact they had visited a barber’.


Warning works like recommending. We use may or na and the subjunctive. For example, me a’n gwarnyas may whrella gasa an pow ‘I warned him to leave the country’ and hy a wrug gwarnya nag ellen vy tre ‘she warned me not to go home’.

Practys Naw ha DêwgansExercise Forty Nine

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Which hat would you recommend me to buy for the wedding? Would you recommend I wear no hat at all? He warned me to arrive early at the beach. I warned you not to try that new restaurant. The waiter always recommends whatever the kitchen needs to get rid of.


The verbs ervira and determya can be used transitively – that is, they may be followed by a direct object of the thing that is decided. For example, yma hebma owth ervira an mater ‘this clinches the matter’ or pandra yllyn ny determya dhort hedna? ‘what can we conclude from that?’ But when the decision is to do something, the usual construction is an intransitive one. For example, ervirys veuv vy dhe brena carr nowyth ‘I decided to buy a new car’. Here the preterite of bos expresses the decision as an event. With the imperfect tense the decision is shown as a continuing one, so the sense of ervirys en vy dhe brena carr nowyth is closer to ‘I was determined to buy a new car’. In Cornish this effect is achieved regardless of whether we choose to use ervira or determya. The idea may be strengthened with fest, as in fest determys en vy dhe weles an fylm peskytter may teffa i’n cynema ‘I was determined to see the film as soon as it came to the cinema’.

We must use na with the subjunctive when deciding what not to do. The indicative is occasionally used instead. For example, ervirys veuv vy na vednen (vydnen, vydnaf) prena carr nowyth ‘I decided not to buy a new car’.

In literary registers we may employ the preterite tense of mydnas in the sense ‘decided’ to do something. Here are all the inflected forms.

mydnys vy

mynsys jy

mydnas ev

mydnas hy

mydnas + noun subject

mynsyn ny

mynsowgh why

mynsons y

Affirmative statements can be made with the subject given first: me a vydnas for instance. Or with particle y and Fifth State mutation: y fydnys vy. Questions can be asked with interrogative particle a and Second State mutation: A vynsons y? for instance. Negative particles ny and na operate as usual: ny vynsys jy for instance. And as usual the pronouns vy, jy etc may be omitted.

Practys Deg ha DêwgansExercise Fifty

How might you say the following in Cornish?

What did you decide to buy in the end? Have you decided not to take a summer holiday this year? Why were you determined to make trouble? Which route did they decide to take? She decided not to return to Cornwall after the divorce.


The verb acordya ‘agree’ is always intransitive – that is, it may not be used with a direct object. So pandra wrussowgh acordya anodho? means ‘what did you agree?’ It would not be grammatically correct to omit anodho here, since the literal sense is ‘of (about) what did you agree?’ Agreeing to do something employs the same grammar as deciding to do something. Thus we will say, for instance, acordys veuv vy dhe wertha ow harr coth ‘I agreed to sell my old car’ (agreement as event) or acordys en vy dhe wertha ow harr coth ‘I was willing to sell my old car’ (continuing agreement).

Other verbs of agreeing operate in similar fashion: agria ‘agree, concur’, assentya ‘agree, say yes’, unverhe ‘agree unanimously’.

We must use na with the subjunctive when agreeing what not to do. The indicative is occasionally used instead. For example, an gesva o unverhës na vednons (vydnens, vydnons) poyntya sewyor ‘the board was unanimously opposed to appointing a successor’.

Practys Udnek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty One

How would you say the following in Cornish?

I’ll agree to buy him a sandwich and a coffee. Have you agreed not to give a staff bonus this year? Won’t you agree to release us from the contract? They agreed unanimously to fire him for gross misconduct. She always agrees to share her pizza with a friend.

Bedhyn, bedhens

We have learned the imperatives bëdh and bedhowgh ‘be’. These are second person (you) forms, singular and plural / polite. In addition there is a plural first person form bedhyn ‘let us be’; and a third person form bedhens ‘let him / her / them be’. These can be used instead of gas ny dhe vos, gas e dhe vos etc. For example, bedhyn realystek ‘let’s be realistic’ and bedhens cosel dha gows, bedhens parys dha welen ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’.


Here are some more new words.

beybel bible, Catholyk Catholic, crejyans religion, drolla (also daralla) tale, yarn, govynadow enquiries, hanvos existence, harlych exactly, henath (succeeding) generation, Latyn Latin, oos age, parcel m & f portion, group, relyjyon religion, roweth importance, prestige, sansyl pious, servya serve, solempna solemn, tarya linger, teythy col attributes, essence, wàr anow oral, wàr bedn dêwlin kneeling

Gwel wàr an bÿs (literally ‘sight on the world’) means attitude to life in general.

Istyna means ‘extend’, and is also used in the sense ‘hand’ something to someone.

Practys Dêwdhek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Two

Demelsa a vydnas parusy, dhe’n warioryon in Lester Noy, areth cot rag styrya roweth an gwary i’n lien goth a Gernow ha’ga spyrysegy dhe berformya oll a’ga bodh. Wosa hy fresentyans yth esa parcel flehes ow tarya i’n rom rag govynadow in Kernowek.

Kensa scolor:

A Demelsa, prag yth yw an lien goth-ma leun a relyjyon sansyl? I’n jëdh hedhyw scant ny yll bos dhyn dhe les?


An crejyans Catholyk o mater meur y bris dhe’n bobel i’n termyn eus passys. Ha kyn na’gan ben nyny martesen an keth crejyans na felha … dar, ny dal gwil vry a’ga gwel wàr an bÿs ha’n hanvos?

Nessa scolor:

Mès an dra yw leun a’n Beybel. A nyns esa whedhlow erel? Whedhlow a Gernow hy honen?


Heb dowt. Lies drolla, lies daralla mesk an weryn. Ha’n re-na o whedhlow wàr anow. Istynys dhort henath dhe henath. Scrifys ny veu ma’s very nebes anodhans. An Beybel o ken tra yn tien. Scrifys in Latyn o hedna. Saw ny wodhya an moyha radn a’n bobel redya na Latyn na tavas vëth. An wariow in plain an gwary a servyas rag desky an Beybel dhe’n bobel, hag anjy pòr whensys dh’y wodhvos dre rêson aga crejyans.

Tressa scolor:

Dâ gena vy vëdh an cana ha’n dauncyans in Lester Noy, harlych der vednen nyny gwary’n whedhel-ma. A nynj ew meur gwell vell mos in eglos dhyfreth, pò pejy drog-solempna wàr bedn dôwlin?


Tybyans an bobel i’n termyn passys-na, yth o kepar! In pùb oos y fydn tus reckna bos an bÿs tabm cales dhe ùnderstondya. An bobel a wodhya gôlya selwans Noy, o selwans dh’anjy i’n kettermyn, dre gana ha dre dhauncya, nag o solempna wàr neb cor.

Peswora scolor:

So lien goth an Kernowek, hòm yw lien teythy heudh?


Yn tien. Messach oll agan lien goth yw “Bedhyn leun a wovenek.”

The third pupil speaks in a slightly lower register than the others. Note in particular der for dell, vednen for vydnyn, ew for yw.

So is used as a weaker alternative to ytho at the beginning of a sentence.

Taking care with rag

Rag has a number of different uses. It is important not to confuse them. The underlying sense of rag is ‘forwards’, and this is clearly seen in the phrases in rag and wàr rag which mean just that. The spatial sense is also visible in compounds arâg ‘in front [of]’ and dhyrag ‘in front of’. We see the spatial sense also in the use of rag as a prefix equivalent to English pre. And the spatial sense operates figuratively with verbs suggesting a barrier set in front of something.

Rag as a preposition is however mostly used in a primary surface sense of ‘for the benefit of’ someone or ‘by reason of’ something. In rag hebma and rag hedna the pronoun is in practice always understood to refer to some circumstance, thus the meaning is fixed: ‘because of this / that, therefore’.

When rag is used with a verb-noun the reason is nearly always understood narrowly as a purpose, so again the meaning is ‘[in order] to’. Very occasionally rag + verb-noun will have a different sense: meth rag fyllel i’n apposyans ‘shame at failing the exam’, for instance.

When rag is used before may and na introducing a subjunctive verb the reason is likewise understood as a purpose, yielding the meaning ‘in order that’ / ‘in order that … not’.

On the other hand, when rag is used with an infinitive construction, the meaning is understood as reason (‘because’) without any sense of purpose. This is also the case when rag na is employed with an indicative verb.

When rag is used with a word or phrase expressing a period of time, the sense is ‘running forwards through that period’.

When rag is employed as a coordinating conjunction, the meaning is ‘for’ giving a reason in parataxis for a preceding statement.Here are some illustrative examples.

Me a dhanvon an messach dhe’m mêster in rag.

I’ll pass the message on to my boss.

Kê ha sedha arâg i’n scath.

Go and sit in the bow of the boat.

Gwra derivas dhyn arâg dorn.

Let us know in advance.

Na sav knack dhyragof!

Don’t stand right in front of me!

Rag hedna yth yw res dhywgh oll mos gans moy rach.

Therefore you must all take more care as you go.

My êth i’n carr dhe’n dre rag prenassa.

I drove into town to do some shopping.

Anwos a’m lettyas rag vysytya ow dama wydn.

A cold prevented me from visiting my grandmother.

Me a dhros côta dhis rag may halles gwitha tobm.

I’ve brought you a coat so you can keep warm.

Tàn mappa rag na vy scon wàr stray.

Take a map or you’ll quickly get lost.

Ny a gemeras taksy rag an ostel dhe vos pell dhyworth an gorsaf.

We took a taxi because the hotel was a long way from the station.

Y a dhalathas heb aga hothman rag na dheuth adermyn.

They started without their friend because he had not showed up on time.

Ty a yll gorra dha daclow dy rag an present termyn.

You can put your things there for the time being.

Yma otham dhyn separâtya oll an dyvers câssys, rag nyns yw an ger-ma êsy màn!

We must keep all the various cases apart, for this word is not at all easy!

The biggest chance of confusion comes with the use of rag to indicate not reason or purpose but a figurative barrier. The principal verbs where rag has its barrier sense are cudha ‘hide’, dyfen 'forbid', gwitha ‘keep’, lesta ‘hinder’, lettya ‘prevent’. Particular care must be taken to understand the correct meaning when rag is found with a verb-noun after these words. An instance of lettya has been given already. Here are examples of the others.

An chy yw cudhys rag golok an strêt.

The house is out of sight of the street.

Y a wrug dyfen an flehes rag gwary wàr an âls awartha.

They forbade the children from playing on top of the cliffs.

An côta-ma a wra dha witha rag anwesy.

This coat will keep you from catching cold.

Not ‘protect you so that you do catch cold’!  

Nyns eus tra vëth ow lesta rag desky Kernowek yn tâ.

Nothing stands in the way of learning Cornish well.


Here are some more new words.

diantel precarious, dynyta dignity, estrenegy alienate, glus glue, gorsempelhe over-simplify, gwrÿth actions, doings, kekefrës (= kefrës, emphatic), Kernowegy Cornish, kespos balance, kilva background, lehe reduce, omgelmy get involved (also log in), pës dâ gans pleased with (see Lesson Twelve), praisya praise, rych rich, sêlya seal, sowthenys yn teg pleasantly surprised, tanek y golon enthusiastic, towledna plan, schedule

Practys Tredhek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Three

Yma Mêstres Combellack ow covyn orth Mêster Mundy y argraf ev a wrÿth cowethas an tavas Kernowek bys i’n eur-ma.

Mêster Mundy:

Pës dâ ov vy dre vrâs gans gwythres an gowethas nowyth. Tanek yw colon Demelsa Pentreath rag dry spêda dhe’n dra, hag yma Alys Howell orth hy scodhya in maner lel.

Mêstres Combellack:

Scoloryon Kernowek aga thavas, pana radh en’jy omgelmys et an dowlen?

Mêster Mundy:

Yma ugans pò moy in pùb metyans. Ny a gemeras ôstysy, dell wodhes. Sowthenys veun yn teg gans areth Carajek Moyle, an professour a fysyk. Fest posytyf o breus scoloryon an Wheffes Class, hag y ow praisya an desten sciensek ha’n yêth na veu gorsempelhës.

Mêstres Combellack:

Lowen om a’y glôwes. Bès ma perylyow mar pëdh areth re gales dhe gonvedhes, heb bos gweff dhe’n yonca scoloryon a’wedh.

Mêster Mundy:

Yth eson ow qwitha rag kelly kespos. Agan qwyz a veu spêda spladn. Nessa tro in brâssa rom, re bo govenek …

Mêstres Combellack:

Ha gwait na relhewgh ’strenegy an lies scolor na wor cowsa’n tavas. Ow forpos ew gwil bôwnans an scol rycha dhe’n flehes, oll anodhans, adar lehe dynyta an re ew heb an tavas. Th’ew tyckly dres ehen!

Mêster Mundy:

Me a wel, heb mar, tell yw diantel. Saw Demelsa yw scolores veurgerys solabrës in hy Bledhen hy. Yma hy ow qwetyas may fe aswonys kekefrës in mesk an yonca flehes. Nyns yw hy sêlys aberth in udn bùsh a bobel Gernowegys. Dewetha seythen hy a dheuth ha styrya kilva Lester Noy in Sowsnek dhe’n warioryon, flehes an Seythves ha Êthves Bledhen, in fordh fytty glân.

Mêstres Combellack:

Gra towledna wharvedhyansow dywyêthek mar pleg. Yn keworrys. Gas an gowethas dhe vos glus gonysegeth. Ha pons dhe well ùnderstondyng der oll an scol.

Yma hy ow qwetyas may fe shows how the imperfect subjunctive of bos can be substituted idiomatically for the present subjunctive in a subordinate clause.

Bùsh means ‘bush’, and is also used as a quantifier meaning ‘group’ (animate or inanimate) or ‘amount’ (inanimate). So we say, for example, bùsh a bobel ‘a group of people’, bùsh bian a bobel ‘a small number of people’, bùsh brâs a bobel ‘a lot of people’, bùsh brâs a vog ‘a lot of smoke’.

Denominative verbs

A denominative verb is one that is made from a noun or an adjective. There are two kinds. A demoninative verb is ‘factitive’ if the sense is an action or process that leads to a result. Other denominative verbs merely describe a process that has no necessary result.

The verb-noun of a factitive verb is formed by adding a suffix to the noun or adjective. The usual suffixes are a, he, y. Here are some examples.

composa ‘straighten’ (also figurative meanings), gwella ‘improve’, tardha ‘burst, explode’, towledna ‘plan, schedule’

cofhe ‘commemorate’ (also ‘remind’, though that is more idiomatically expressed by dry [arta] dhe’n cov), crefhe ‘strengthen’, gwelhe ‘improve’

calesy ‘harden’, poblegy ‘publicize’

The pair gwella / gwelhe shows there can be some competition among the factitive suffixes. 

Suffix îsa is employed for technical terms that Cornish bases on Greco-Latin. For instance, canalîsa ‘canalize’.

All factitive verbs have verbal adjectives. These end in ys as expected (hës in the case of verbs formed with he). But generally speaking only verbs formed with a have other inflected forms.

Most factitive verbs can be employed with a direct object. If a factitive verb operates without a direct object (express or implied), we may call it ‘fientive’ or ‘disagentive’, because the result of the action then accrues to the subject, which is now a ‘patient’, not an ‘agent’. A few factitive verbs are always of this nature. Here are some examples.

With express direct object

Yth esa an auctour ow poblegy y lyver nowyth.

The author was publicizing his new book.

With implied direct object

Res yw poblegy, adar bos kelus.

One must publicize, not be secretive.

With direct object or intransitive

Yma an stayes ow crefhe an wern.

The stays strengthen the mast.

Yma an gwyns ow crefhe.

The wind is strengthening.

Always intransitive

An danbellen a wrug tardha.

The bomb exploded.


An euthwas a wrug dh’y danbellen tardha.

The terrorist exploded his bomb.

The pronunciation of he and hës is unusual. The suffix is stressed, resulting in a word that has equal stress on two syllables. Note also the regular devoicing of the consonant immediately preceding the suffix.

If suffix y is selected for a factitive verb formed to an adjective in ek, the outcome is egy. These verbs do not usually have inflected forms, save for a verbal adjective; but a ‘he/she’ preterite form ending in as is occasionally found.

Denominative verbs for a process without any necessary result generally select ya (comprising stem extension y plus suffix a) rather than suffix a alone. But this is not an absolute rule. For some speakers the choice is governed as much by phonetics as semantics. So, for instance, a by-form mordardha is found alongside mordardhya ‘surf’. We see such hesitation between and ya also in verb-noun pairs such as mentêna / mentênya ‘maintain’, recêva / recêvya ‘receive’. And in plural pairs like breusow / breusyow ‘judgments, opinions’.

We find ya widely in verb-nouns that are loan-words originating from Latin or French. In English some of these verbs appear to be denominative, but that is deceptive: it is rather that the corresponding noun has been ‘back-formed’ from an original verb. A corresponding back-formation may however be lacking in Cornish. So in English we have noun ‘move’ formed to verb ‘move’ (from Old French moveir). But Cornish has only the verb môvya; there is no Cornish noun mov.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Eleven

Click or tap here 





is the ordinary verb meaning ‘pay’. The direct object expresses what is paid, either the money that changes hands or the debt that is thereby discharged. For example, ev a wrug pê deg pens ‘he paid ten pounds’, ev a wrug pê an scot ‘he paid the bill’. Occasionally the direct object expresses the person or business that is paid. So we can say, for example, yw res dhyn pê an ostel rag ûsya an park kerry? ‘must we pay the hotel for using the car park?’ But when we say someone is pës dâ gans we do not literally mean ‘well paid by’. As we saw in Lesson Eleven, the sense is that one is ‘pleased’ or ‘contented’ with something. For example, pës dâ oma gans hedna! ‘that’s fine with me!’ and nyns o hy pës dâ gans oll an dra ‘she objected to the whole idea’.

Tyly is another verb meaning ‘pay’. The stem of this verb is tal. It is possible the verb-noun tyly did not exist historically, but it is now in general use. In Book One we first learned its figurative use in sentences like y tal gwella dha vêwnans or te a dal gwella dha vêwnans ‘you should get a better life’ (that is, it would ‘pay’ you, it would be worthwhile) and y talvia dhedhy mos dhe’n benscol ‘she should have gone to university’ (that is, it would have ‘paid’ her if she had done so). And we can perceive the verb inside dùrdala dhe why, literally ‘may God pay to you’.

Tyly is particularly used as an alternative to in transactional situations where the meaning is ‘settle’ or ‘settle up’. For instance, a wrusta tyly an recken? ‘did you pay the invoice?’, tylys dhyrag dorn ‘prepaid’, tyly ow tendyl ‘pay as you earn (PAYE)’. We met the verb in Danyel’s summary of Michael Joseph’s complaint: tollow a Gernow rag caskergh may fe tylys warbydn Scotland.

Some writers of modern Cornish employ an alternative spelling tylly. This is based on the phrase heb y dylly in Passyon agan Arlùth that apparently means ‘without deserving it’. But we may in fact be dealing here with an entirely different verb.

Gobra means ‘pay’ specifically in the sense of engaging someone for a wage, a salary or some other form of remuneration.

The usual word for ‘payment’ is pêmont. But talas occurs as well, especially in technical expressions such as talas dyscans ‘tuition fee’, talas farwèl ‘severance payment’, talas treusporth ‘transfer fee’. Note also mûndalas ‘royalties’. And pêmons socyal ‘benefits’ (social security).

The ordinary word for ‘value’ itself is valew. This can also be used figuratively. For example, yma dhe’n jornal valewys ascor uhel ‘the magazine has high production values’; or valew moral ‘moral value’. Derived from tyly there is talvesygeth ‘worth’ or ‘value’, which is generally employed fairly literally. For example, talvesygeth enep ‘face value’; and ev a gafas talvesygeth y vona ‘he got value for money’. There is also talvos ‘valence’ or ‘valency’ (as in chemistry). This word can be employed as a verb meaning ‘value’ or ‘price’ (that is, determine the value of something). Talveja is another verb with the same sense. This word has a sub-family of its own: talvejans ‘valuation’, talvesor ‘valuer’, talvesek ‘valuable’. The last notion is more commonly expressed by meur y valew; by druth or precyùs in the context of jewellery; by ker or costly in the context of price.


Here are some more new words.

acownt account, acownt arhow deposit account, acownt erbysy savings account, acownt kesres current account, asectour executor, berrscrif (written) summary, cheryta charity, covscrefa register, darbary prepare, destna destine, earmark, dogven document, draght draft (also draught in senses ‘drink’ and ‘playing-piece’), dydoll tax-free, dygowsejeth dementia, dyvotter famine, eryta inherit, franklyn freeholder, kemynro legacy, keschaunj exchange, kesperhen co-owner, kevarhow pl investment(s), kevarwedhyans direction(s), instruction(s), kevran share, lemen except, lyckly likely, probable, lyther kemyn will, manylyon pl details, data, mebyon gwydn pl grandsons (but also, generally, ‘grandchildren’), part part, perhedna own, poran adv exactly, remnant remainder, restrys listed (investments), ro gift, sempleth simplicity, sensys dhe obliged to, sewajyans relief, spyty hospice, stockys pl stock(s), sùbmen sum, amount, taclenow pl things, effects, tiegeth household, tramor overseas, treusperthy transfer

The expression an eyl y gela (hy ben) ‘one another’ can be split. An eyly gela (hy ben) means ‘the one … the other’. We may put a noun after an eyl, but not after y gela or hy ben. Sometimes we find y gela on its own meaning ‘the other one’, without an eyl. But more commonly ‘the other [one]’ is an aral.

Practys Peswardhek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Four 

Yma client, Ray Scott, ow metya gans atorny Powl Tonkin. Mêster Scott a garsa provia kevarwedhyans rag parusy lyther kemyn nowyth.

Powl Tonkin:

Sensys oma dhywgh a dhanvon berrscrif a’gas pëth dhyrag dorn. Dell welaf, y’gas beus udn part in chy franklyn, ha’n part aral ow longya dh’agas gwreg. Yma acowntys arhanty i’gas hanow udnyk: onen kesres, onen arhow; yma acowntys erbysy dydoll – hèn yw, dew ISA i’gas hanow; hag yma kevradnow dhywgh in peder cowethas usy restrys i’n Keschaunj Stockys. Yma carr covscrefys i’gas hanow. Ha taclow tiegeth, yw perhednys gans an wreg warbarth. Ha nebes taclenow personek.

Ray Scott:

A vÿdh neb caletter?

Powl Tonkin:

Caletter? Nâ nâ. Nyns eus otham vëth saw clerhe udn dra pò dew. Now, pyw a vëdh an asectours?

Ray Scott:

Ow mebyon vy. Tevysogyon, oll aga dew. My a wrug côwsel ortans a’n negys, hag ymowns y agries.

Powl Tonkin:

Pòr dhâ. Agas gwreg a wra eryta oll an chy dre laha, avês dhe’n lyther kemyn, rag hy dhe vos kesperhen. Saw pandra wher mar pëdh hy marow kyns ès why?

Ray Scott:

Gwertha an chy ha’n dhew vab dhe gemeres an mona hanter-hanter.

Powl Tonkin:

Ha’n eyl mab dhe gafos oll an talvesygeth mar marwa y gela kyns? Drog yw genef: sur ny vëdh lyckly! Res yw gwitha rag chauns.

Ray Scott:

Convedhys yn tien. Eâ, kepar dell leversowgh. Nyns eus mebyon gwydn na whath.

Powl Tonkin:

Ha’n kevradnow? Treusperthy dh’agas gwreg?

Ray Scott:

Nâ, ny vÿdh kevarhow a’n par-ma dhe les dhe’m gwreg, na dhe’n vebyon naneyl. Gwell via gwertha an kevrannow. Y hyll ow gwreg kemeres oll an taclow tiegeth. Ha’n carr. Kefrÿs ow thaclow personek. Lemen ow euryor Rôlex vy, yw destnys dhe’m broder Jim. An mona – hèn yw, an acowntys ha valew an kevrannow – my a garsa hemma oll dhe vos tylys dhe’m gwreg. Marnas try hemynro dhe jeryta. Onen dhe gowethas spyty a’n vro. Onen dhe whythrans dygowsejeth. Hag onen rag sewajyans dyvotter tramor. Otta trigva ha’n sùmmen rag pùb ro-ma.

Powl Tonkin:

Ha mona an remnant dhe vos pêmont keth fordh dh’agas mebyon, mar pëdh an wreg marow solabrës?

Ray Scott:

Indelha poran. Yw hemma lowr a vanylyon? May hallowgh darbary dogven? In Sowsnek mar pleg. Oll rag sempleth.

Powl Tonkin:

Yth yw lowr teg. Dùrdala dhe why a’n kevarwedhyans kempen cler. Me a vydn danvon draght dhywgh peskytter may fo parys.

Inflected imperfect tense

We have learned the preterite tense, noting limitations on its use for most verbs in conversational Cornish. Most verbs also have an inflected imperfect tense. We already know the inflected imperfect tenses of bos, mydnas, gwil, godhvos, gallos because these are in frequent use in all registers of Cornish. Other imperfect tenses are largely confined to written styles, but they occur somewhat more frequently than the inflected preterites we have noted as belonging to higher registers only.

Just as is the case for the inflected preterite tense, verbs follow one of two possible patterns in the inflected imperfect tense. The first pattern does not involve any change of vowel in the stem of the verb. In the second pattern an a, sometimes an o, in the stem changes to an in all of the forms. These are instances of the phenomenon we call ‘affection’.

Here are the forms belonging to the first pattern, with prena as our model verb.

prenen vy, prenes [jy], prena ev, prena hy, prena + noun subject, prenen [ny], prenewgh [why], prenens [y]

Here are the forms belonging to the second pattern, using dallath as our model verb.

dalethyn vy, dalethys [jy], dalethy ev, dalethy hy, dalethy + noun subject, dalethyn [ny], dalethewgh [why], dalethens [y]

Affirmative statements can be made with the subject given first: me a brena for instance. Or with particle y and Fifth State mutation: y talethyn vy. Questions can be asked with interrogative particle a and Second State mutation: A brenens? for instance. Negative particles ny and na operate as usual: ny dhalethys for instance. The pronouns jy, ny, why, y are used with these forms only to provide emphasis. And the pronouns vy, ev, hy can always be omitted, as usual.

These inflected imperfects can be used just like imperfects formed with auxiliary gwil. So between the questions a dhalethens tevy? and a wrêns y dallath tevy? ‘were they beginning to grow?’ the only difference is one of style.

The inflected imperfect may have habitual sense. For example, ny a dhalethy gàn whel eth eur pùb myttyn is the same (apart from style) as ny a wre dallath gàn whel eth eur pùb myttyn ‘we used to start work at eight every morning’. Y fedhen ny ow tallath gàn whel eth eur pùb myttyn is a further possibility, and the most colloquial.

We also find the same sense of ‘future in the past’ in a sentence like ev a leverys fatell dhalethy an ober scon ‘he said he would be starting the job soon’, which only differs stylistically from the three other ways of saying the same thing, namely ev a leverys fatell vydna dallath an ober scon, ev a leverys fatell wre dallath an ober scon and ev a leverys fatell vedha ow tallath an ober scon.

If you wish to use the inflected imperfect of a particular verb, and are unsure how it is formed, you should not hesitate to check in a reference book of grammar.

The endings a and y in the ‘he/she’ form do not always match the variation between as and ys in the preterite. ‘He/she’ preterite endings as and ys are both found for some verbs; but in the imperfect the ending is always either just a or just y, according to the verb in question.


Here are some more new words.

cladhgell crypt, coynt curious, odd (also canny), dour careful, exact, megy smoke (also stifle), pib pipe, scryp bag, case, son sound, sùffra suffer, touryst tourist, wherthyn nerth y bedn roar with laughter

scryp only means ‘hand baggage only’ in the context of air travel

Practys Pymthek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Five

Substitute the imperfect tense formed with auxiliary verb gwil for the inflected imperfect tense in each of these sentences. For example, ev a wherthy nerth y bedn becomes ev a wre wherthyn nerth y bedn. What do the sentences mean?

Ny a woslowy dour. Y a viajya scryp only. A sùffrys pain? Ny dhyghtya hy an dra yn sad. Pùb nos y clôwyn ny sonyow coynt.

Practys Whêtek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Six

Replace the inflected imperfect tense in each of these sentences with a ‘periphrastic’ verb formed with the local imperfect tense of bos. For example, ev a wherthy nerth y bedn becomes yth esa ev ow wherthyn nerth y bedn. What do the sentences mean?

A wortes termyn pell? Ev a dhianowy sqwith oll an jëdh. Y kerdhyn vy lies our. Prag na agriens y? Ny gemeryn own vëth.

Practys Seytek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Seven

Replace the inflected imperfect tense in each of these sentences with ‘periphrastic’ verb formed with the habitual tense of bos. For example, ev a wherthy nerth y bedn becomes y fedha ev ow wherthyn nerth y bedn. What do the sentences mean?

An prownter a dhysqwedhy an gladhgell dhe bùb touryst. A jaunjyes train in Keresk pùb treveth? Me a’s gwely de Sadorn yn fenowgh. Dar, ny vegys pib kyns? Yth arethya esely an Seneth meur dhe well i’n dedhyow coth.

More about tenses in indirect statement

We first encountered the ‘rule of sequence of tenses’ in Book Two, Lesson Fourteen. And immediately noted that nowadays the rule is often ignored in all but the most formal usage. Assuming we do wish to apply the rule, we know how to deal with the main verb of what was said. If the sense is present, we put it into the imperfect tense. When the sense is future, we put it into the imperfect tense as a ‘future-in-the-past’ (selecting the habitual imperfect tense for this purpose if the verb is bos). If the sense is past, we put the verb into the imperfect or preterite tense according to context.

Two questions remain. What to do with a verb in a sub-clause of an indirect statement? And how to treat the verb of a protasis belonging to an indirect statement?

What to do with indicative verbs

Indicative verbs in sub-clauses are treated just like the main verb of what is said. But in the protasis of a conditional sentence in indirect statement a subjunctive (imperfect subjunctive if the verb is bos) may be substituted for an indicative verb. In the case of mar teu the substitution of mar teffa is the norm.

What to do with subjunctive verbs

If the verb in a sub-clause or in a protasis is subjunctive, then we leave it alone – unless it is a present subjunctive form of bos, in which case we replace it with the imperfect subjunctive equivalent.

Here are some examples.

Hy a leverys, “Kernowek yw tavas bew kyn nag eus lies huny orth y gôwsel na felha.”

She said, “Cornish is a living language although not many people speak it any more.”

becomes for instance

Hy a leverys fatell o Kernowek tavas bew kyn nag esa lies huny orth y gôwsel na felha.

She said that Cornish was a living language although not many people spoke it any more.

Hy a leverys, “Me a vydn desky Kernowek pàn wryllyf omdedna.”

She said, “I will learn Cornish once I retire.”

becomes for instance

Hy a leverys fatell vydna desky Kernowek pàn wrella omdedna.

She said that she would learn Cornish once she retired.

Hy a leverys, “Nessa seythen an flehes a vëdh arta i’n scol.”

She said, “Next week the children will be back at school.”

becomes for instance

Hy a leverys an flehes dell vedhens y arta i’n scol nessa seythen.

She said that next week the children would be back at school.

Hy a leverys, “Kebmys a woraf, ny wrug glaw de.”

She said, “So far as I know, it didn’t rain yesterday.”

becomes for instance

Hy a leverys na wrug glaw de, kebmys a wodhya.

She said that, so far as she knew, it had not rained yesterday.

Hy a leverys, “Ow broder a wra ponya i’n marathon mar mynta unweyth y vewghya.”

She said, “My brother will run the marathon provided you agree to sponsor him.”

becomes for instance

Hy a leverys fatell wre hy broder ponya i’n marathon mar mydnes (or mednes) unweyth y vewghya.

She said that her brother would run the marathon provided you agreed to sponsor him.

Hy a leverys, “Ow broder a wrussa ponya i’n marathon a mednes unweyth y vewghya.”

She said, “My brother would have run the marathon if only you had agreed to sponsor him.”

becomes for instance

Hy a leverys hy broder dell wrussa ponya i’n marathon a mednes unweyth y vewghya.

She said that her brother would have run the marathon if only you had agreed to sponsor him.

The last of these examples shows there is a practical limit to how elaborate the tenses can be. The unreal condition already requires the conditional tense for the main verb of what is said and the imperfect subjunctive for the protasis. No changes occur when it is put into indirect statement.


Here are some more new words.

acord agreement, condycyons lavur pl working conditions, declarya declare, announce, dôwysyans election, fedna overflow, flood, kesudnyans lavur trade union, Mentênour Conservative, Tory

Practys Êtek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Eight

Applying the rule of sequence of tenses, convert each of the following direct statements into an indirect statement beginning with An BBC a dherivys ... ‘The BBC reported ...’ You will need to vary the way you express the indirect statement for the best fit in each individual sentence. Once the sentences have been converted, what do they mean?

An Mytern a vydn vysytya ‘Kresen Kernow’ pàn vo in Ewny Redrudh nessa mis. Y fëdh an fordh degës mar teu an ryver ha fedna. Còst an kevambos re beu encressys kynth yw an servys lehës. An kesudnyans lavur a vensa declarya astel ober mar na ve acord nowyth rag gwelhe an gober ha’n condycyons. Abàn veu an dôwysyans agensow, an Mentênours a’s teves moyhariv in Consel Kernow.

Saying ‘even’

The English word ‘even’ has many different meanings.

As a noun ‘even’ is the shorter form of ‘evening’, of course, belonging to the poetical language. This is gordhuwher or nosweyth in Cornish.

As an adjective ‘even’ may correspond to Cornish compes or gwastas or leven; or might sometimes be expressed by kesposys or montollys.

It is the meaning of ‘even’ as an adverb that is most difficult to pin down. In Cornish we may use inwedh. The overall syntax of the sentence is then typically adjusted to signal special focus. We may employ the interjection dar when there is an element of surprise or indignation. In a negative sentence udn or unweyth often equates to English ‘not even’. Preceding or following moy we use whath. Occasionally we find vëth after moy.

When English ‘even’ implies going beyond what is normal or what is expected, there is no single corresponding expression in Cornish. Sometimes the underlying sense is ‘even if’, in which case we employ kyn fe postponed to the end of the clause. We can employ an introductory ha; it may then be possible to analyse the result alternatively as a phrase of accompanying circumstance (see Lesson Thirteen) with kyn fe understood adverbially. Another common device is to append A venses y gresy? or A wrusses y gresy? ‘Would you believe it?’ as a rhetorical question at the end of the utterance.

Here are some examples.

Seulyow hir a wyscas hy inwedh.

She even wore high heels.

Dar, ny wrussowgh agan gortos?

You didn’t even wait for us.

A ny wodhes powes cosel udn vynysen?

Can’t you sit still even for a moment?

Ny wrussys unweyth gelwel rag dyharas.

You didn’t even phone to apologize.

Lebmyn y a wrug chevysya whath moy.

Now they’ve borrowed even more.

Yth esof ow neyja i’n mor pùb myttyn; [hag] i’n gwâv kyn fe. 

I swim in the sea every morning; even in winter.

Anjy a brenas dewas dhybm. A venses y gresy?

They even bought me a drink.


Here are some more new words.

addya add, aysel triakel balsamic vinegar, berry fat, bobm bump, punch, Borgayn Burgundy, bowyn beef, brewgig mince, bryjyon boil, cook, cùmyn cumin, dornas handful, fria fry, gwalgh glut, kegy cook, kegynieth cooking, cuisine, kegynores cook (female), kenyn ewynak col garlic, Kerwrangon Worcester, keus Parma Parmesan [cheese], kevothak powerful, rich, lavurya labour, toil, ledn blanket, loas spoonful, pasta pasta, prias m & f spouse, shakyans shake, shaking, spîcek spicy, syrop syrup, trenk sour, uvel humble, yos purée

larch is a variant of larj

In Book Two we learned skit as ‘diarrhoea’. But that is an idiomatic usage. The essential meaning of the word is any kind of ‘squirt’. It is also used colloquially to mean ‘jab’ (more formally skîtyans ‘injection’). And skîtyans also means ‘ejaculation’. Use these words with care!

Tùch means a light touch or tap, and it is common as a quantifier meaning ‘a little’. It is also employed as a time word without any following noun, so we may say for example Udn tùch mar pleg ‘Just a moment please!’

Sygera has many related meanings: laze, idle, ooze, trickle, smoulder. In Exercise 59 the sense is ‘simmer’.

We have encountered in nes as a preposition. It is also used as an adverb meaning ‘near’ or ‘nearer’.

Practys Nawnjek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Nine

Elen Tonkin yw vysytyor dhe ranjy hy henytherow Jana Bligh in Arwednak udn gordhuwher. Y whra Zoe Eustice, prias Jana, parusy soper dh’aga theyr.


Ot an vytel dhe’n bord. Dewgh ha debry.


Ma’n sawor pòr dhâ! Pandra wrusta kegy?


Nynj eus ma’s brewgig bowyn. Versyon spîcek. Ha penne ganjo. Pùptra yw pòr sempel, heb lowr termyn warlergh dones tre.


Kegynores uvel glân yw Zoe. Warlergh lavurya in hy shoppa oll an jëdh, de Lun bys i’n Sadorn, hy a wor gwil soper dhyn yn scon hag yn spladn. Mir! Yma salad ganso. Ha bara toos trenk, pebys chy. Botel a win Borgayn i’wedh. Frûtys vëdh an sant melys. Y’gan bÿdh coffy wosa hedna.


Delycyùs yw an bowyn, Zoe. Fatla wrussys y vryjyon?


Kyns oll me a frias an kig gans onyon ha kenyn ewynak. Saw cùmyn yw an alwheth. Addya dew loas tê a hedna. Puber Cayenne rag ry bobmyn. Loas tê a’n syrop owrek, dew loas a’n aysel triakel, shakyans larch a’n sows Kerwrangon, skit a’n yos aval kerensa. Dornas lus rudh kefrës. Keworra badna dowr, ha gasa dhe sygera scav bys may fo parys an pasta.


Wèl, hèm yw heb dowt meur gwell genam ès an Bolognese a vrojya Demelsa dhe soper yn fenowgh. Erna wrug vy pesy lettya! Y fedha hy orth y gudha gans ledn a geus Parma yn town. Gwalgh a verry. Assa veu re gevothak! Ny allaf mès alowa hy scant na’s teves talent i’n gegynieth, ha hy arbenygyes i’n gemyk kyn fe.


Èm, now, mar teun ha’gas vysytya whywhy neb tro, y fydnyn ny oll debry in boosty pò tavern pàr hap?


Ogh peryl vëth! Wolcùm owgh pòr wir. Me a wra parusy an vytel dhe why ow honen i’n eur-na. Dyfen Demelsa rag dos in nes!

Collective versus singulative

When a singulative noun exists alongside a collective noun, we use the collective noun when referring to an uncountable quantity. So gans onyon ‘with [some] onion’ (thinking of the ingredient generally); contrast gans onyonen ’with an onion’ (thinking of an individual bulb).

Pronouncing suffix ieth

There are two competing pronunciations of the suffix ieth in words like dorydhieth ‘geography’ and kegynieth ‘cooking, cuisine’. There are speakers who stress these words regularly on the penultimate syllable. But more commonly you will hear them stressed on the ‘antepenult’; that is, on the last syllable but one. Those who pronounce the words in this way may even spell the suffix yeth rather than ieth to make their preference clear in writing.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Twelve

Click or tap here 




Accompanying attributes / circumstances

The primary meaning of ha is ‘with’. But gans ‘along with’ has replaced it in contexts of incidental physical accompaniment. Ha now mostly functions as a conjunction meaning ‘and’. We do however still encounter ha in the sense ‘with’ when it introduces accompanying attributes or accompanying circumstances.

A phrase of accompanying circumstance has the formula ha + noun / pronoun + predicative adjective (always in First State), adjectival phrase, adverb, or prepositional phrase. Particle ow (owth) followed by a verb-noun is treated as a prepositional phrase for this purpose because ow here is, in origin, the preposition orth.

Occasionally in modern Cornish one encounters a phrase of accompanying circumstance comprising ha + noun / pronoun + noun. We can understand such a phrase as an ellipsis omitting ow pos ‘being’. But ow pos is actually very rare in both historical and revived Cornish, so it is better to avoid this kind of phrase altogether.

We have already met a number of phrases of accompanying circumstance. We took them in our stride before actually studying their grammar in detail, so there is no need to think of such phrases as complicated or difficult. They are very much a feature of fluent Cornish.

Book One, Exercise 62

ha kig yar ganso

Book One, Exercise 65

Ha my lebmyn in dadn son an wlas

Book One, Exercise 69

Ha’n performans wosa dyw seythen

Book One, Exercise 71

Ha ty pòr grev i’n corf

Book Two, Exercise 13

ha tesen ganso

Book Two, Exercise 26

ha my owth assaya ûsya an appyow i’m fon

Book Two, Lesson Twelve

ha spot a leth ino

Book Two, Exercise 53

ha’n keth sawor dhodho

ha sawor flourys ros ganso

Book Two, Exercise 60

hag asclas ganso

Book Two, Exercise 64

Ha’n Dama Wydn ow floghcovia lies our

Book Two, Exercise 84

ha te ow covyn

Book Three, Exercise 12

ha Danyel lemmyn i’n Pympes Bledhen

Book Three, Exercise 13

Ha my ow mos an keth jorna i’n fentenva

Book Three, Exercise 23

ha ny abyl dhana dhe vos parra udnyes in udn tavas

Book Three, Exercise 26

ha’n Leur ow qwil qwestyons

Book Three, Exercise 27

ha’n lînen leek ow jùnya dhe’n hens brâs

ha hebma owth alowa dhe vysytyoryon gwil tro vian warnodho

Book Three, Exercise 33

ha hobma i’n gader

Book Three, Exercise 35

hag onen a’n Wheffes Class ow talkya gerednow hir

Book Three, Exercise 38

ha pot a goffy dâ intredhon

Book Three, Exercise 52

hag anjy pòr whensys dh’y wodhvos

Book Three, Exercise 53

hag y ow praisya

Book Three, Exercise 54

ha’n part aral ow longya dh’agas gwreg

ha’n dhew vab dhe gemeres an mona hanter-hanter

Ha’n eyl mab dhe gafos oll an talvesygeth mar marwa y gela?

Book Three, Exercise 59

ha penne ganjo

It is particularly important to realize that accompanying circumstances do not have to be contemporaneous. A phrase of accompanying circumstance is very versatile. In the examples below, only the first corresponds to a ‘while’ clause in English.

Ow cotha broder a studhyas injynorieth, hag ev in Ûnyversyta Loundres i’n eur-na.

My elder brother studied engineering while he was at the University of London.

‘Missed’ mutation in ow cotha is an example of very common retained c/k/q after ow ‘my’.

Ow whor êth dhe’n ûnyversyta rag studhya calcorieth, ha’y descadoryon kemerys yn frâs gans hy ableth nans o termyn pell.

My sister went to university to study mathematics, after her teachers had long been impressed by her ability.

Ow yonca broder a dhôwysas studhya economyk pàn wrug dybarth orth an scol nessa, hag ev lebmyn in soodh yw gobrys pòr dhâ.

My younger brother chose to study economics when he left secondary school, and now he has a job that is very well paid.

A phrase of accompanying circumstance can even provide the reason for something if the context supports that.

Ha’n Mentênours bohes coynt yn tefry, me a vydn vôtya Lavur.

As the Conservatives are really incompetent, I shall be voting Labour.

When the phrase of accompanying circumstance renders a negative idea, we use preposition heb. Here are a couple of examples.

Ny a slynkyas ajy dhe’n kyffewy yn holergh ha why heb merkya.

We slipped into the party late without you noticing.

Ow thas a wrug demedhy unweyth arta, ha my heb clôwes ger vëth a’n dra.

My father married again and I never even heard about it.

Compare these phrases of accompanying circumstance and the modern idiom of heb with an infinitive construction (Lesson Ten). In many cases it will be possible to use either approach to express the same idea.

Practys Try UgansExercise Sixty

How would you say the following in Cornish? Use a phrase of accompanying circumstance in each case.

Tôny likes coffee with sweet cream on top. The kids watched television while we got the dinner ready. They drove a hundred miles and it was raining all the time. Well, you know all about it: she left without a single word of apology. And while I think of it, where have you put those chocolates I saw you buying yesterday? We agreed to see him because it was the right thing to do. Crysten ordered a flapjack for herself, seeing as Tôny was already eating a doughnut. Elen speaks Cornish fluently, having grown up in a Cornish speaking family. The man was so kind and I didn’t thank him enough. They say they can afford it, and I don’t believe that at all.


Here are some more new words.

colodnek brave (also hearty), dascreatya recreate, defia defy, dewedhes late, hobba hobby, kevradna share, kewerder accuracy, precision, levender smoothness, consistency, nerth power, energy

cowethas enactya arta is an ‘historical re-enactment society’

Practys Onen ha Try UgansExercise Sixty One

Whath yth yw Crysten Chegwyn, genys Kemp, acowntyades. Ha Tôny Chegwyn yw whath descador a’n Sowsnek, lebmyn in scol Demelsa ha Mark in Trûrû, ytho y vêster nowyth yw Brian Mundy.

Dâ yw gans Crysten mordardhya, ha hy crev ha colodnek dhe dhefia nerth an todnow. Dâ yw gans Tôny golf, hag ev prest whensys dhe welhe levender ha kewerder y wary. Saw gwell yw gansans, hag y lebmyn demedhys, kevradna an keth udn hobba warbarth.

Rag hedna anjy a wrug jùnya dhe gowethas enactya arta. I’n tor’-ma, hag istory Kernow mar rych ha dyvers, ymowns y ow cafos meur plesour, pedn lies seythen, in gwythres dascreatya bêwnans an weryn, dell o hy i’n Osow Cres Dewedhes.

Saying ‘early’ and ‘late’

Avarr means ‘in the earlier part of a period of time’; abrës means ‘before the due time’. Dewedhes corresponds to avarr, meaning ‘in the later part of a period of time’; holergh corresponds to abrës, meaning ‘after the due time’. But these distinctions are not always observed in practice.

All of these words form comparatives with moy, and superlatives with moyha. Dewetha is in origin a superlative of dewedhes, but it long ago became a distinct adjective meaning ‘last’, corresponding to kensa ‘first’.

More about pynag

Here are some more expressions based on pynag.

pypynag [oll] ‘whichever / whatever’

pyw pynag ‘whoever’

pyneyl pynag ‘whichever (of two)’

pygebmys pynag ‘however much / many’

pan lies pynag ‘however many’

pan lies torn pynag ‘however often’

To say ‘wherever’ we employ either pùppynag may or pypynag oll may. There is no corresponding pynag expression for ‘whenever’. Instead we use bÿth pàn (followed by Second State) or pesqweyth y (followed by Fifth State). Colloquially bÿth pàn is often pronounced byth pàn and may be so written. ‘However’ meaning ‘in whatever way’ is pan fordh pynag. Contrast bytegyns.

Here are some examples.

Pypynag oll a vydnyf gwil, y fëdh cabm.

Whatever I do, it will be wrong.

Pyw pynag a dheffes wàr y bydn, gwra salujy in Kernowek.

Whoever you may encounter, greet them in Cornish.

Pyneyl pynag a vednowgh dôwys, rudh pò du, an chauns a vëdh an keth hanter.

Whichever you choose, red or black, the odds will always be fifty fifty.

Pùb termyn y fëdh plenta moy, pygebmys pynag a gemyrry.

There’ll always be plenty more, however much you take.

An whedn, pana lies pynag a vo tednys in bàn, y fedhons ow tevy arta pòr scon.

However many weeds get pulled up, they very quickly grow back again.

Pan lies torn pynag a vednyn ny govyn, parys o va pùpprës ha neb gorthyp scav ganso.

However often we enquired, he was always ready with some glib reply.

Pùppynag mayth ellen, ny a gafas an kethsam plit anwhek.

Wherever we went, we found the same unpleasant situation.

Pypynag oll may fe tewlder, hy a dhros golow.

Wherever there was darkness, she brought light.

Bÿth pàn ve (or Pesqweyth y fe) cov a’n dedhyow-na, wharth a vedha wàr aga min.

Whenever they remembered those days, there would be a smile on their lips.

Pan fordh pynag a wrylly descrefa an pëth a wharva, y fëdh methek dres ehen.

However you describe what happened, it’s going to be very embarrassing.

Bytegyns, pandra yllysta gwil ken?

However, what else can you do?

It will be worth noting at this point that English also uses its family of words ending in ‘ever’ to ask emphatic questions. Cornish does not use pynag for this purpose. For Cornish equivalents to emphatic questions in English, see Lesson Ten.


Here are a few more words.

carya transport, kevrîn secret, pop-ÿs col popcorn

wharfo is present subjunctive of wharvos ‘happen’

Practys Dew ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Two

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Whatever happens, they must not learn we have discovered their secret. Whenever we visit the cinema, wherever we are and whatever film we watch, the first thing we do is buy two big buckets of popcorn. However many times I listen to this music I’m always transported back in my mind to the concert in Truro Cathedral where we heard it together long ago. And everywhere that Mary went that lamb was sure to go. However did you find me?

Paired conjunctions

In Lesson Three we met the use of haha to mean ‘both … and’. We encountered nana meaning ‘neither … nor’ (in the phrase na dâ na drog) right back in Book One, Lesson One. To ‘complete the set’ we may now learn () … pò () meaning ‘either … or’.

For each of these paired conjunctions there is a more emphatic alternative. Instead of ha ha we can say kefrës ha. Instead of we can say boneyl bò (). Instead of nana we can say naneylna. (We can also use combined kefrës ha as a preposition to mean ‘as well as’ or ‘in addition to’, with ordinary nouns, verb-nouns and pronouns.)

Both na and naneyl require any verb to be expressed negatively. For example, ny ÿv hy na tê na coffy ‘she drinks neither tea nor coffee’ and naneyl ny woraf na ny’m deur ‘I neither know nor care’. We have known for a long time that naneyl can be postponed to the end of the sentence, so more colloquially we might say ny woraf na ny’m deur naneyl ‘I don’t know, and I don’t care either’.

Saying ‘whether … or’

We employ be va … pò to say ‘whether … or’ with nouns, adjectives, adverbs. And we render ‘whether … or not’ as be va pò na. If we are referring to specific people or to a specific feminine thing, then be va will be adjusted for person / gender, as in the fourth example below.

We employ pyneyl apò a to say ‘whether … or’ with a verb, or simply pyneyl a  if the second verb is not inflected. Link particle a disappears as usual before forms of bos and mos beginning with a vowel. We render ‘whether … or not’ as pyneyl a pò na. Or we can repeat the verb in the second limb.

Here are some examples.

Be va lavrak pò pows, teg vëdh pùb dyllas in hy herhyn.

Whether trousers or a dress, everything looks great on her.

Te a dal assaya an practycyow, be va êsy pò cales.

You should attempt the exercises, whether easy or difficult.

Be va avarr pò dewedhes, otta hy dywysyk orth hy whel.

Whether early or late, there she is, busily at work.

Res yw dhywgh debry oll dha losow gwer, bewgh why gwag pò na.

You must eat up your greens, whether hungry or not.

Gwra govyn pyneyl a vydnons y kemeres taxy pò mos wàr an bùss.

Ask whether they’ll be taking a taxi or going on the bus.

Pyneyl a vëdh an howl ow shînya pò na (or pò na vëdh), sur oma ny dhe joya’n jorna.

Whether or not the sun is shining, I’m sure we’ll have a lovely day.

Prepositions in kerhyn and in herwyth

In kerhyn is a preposition meaning ‘all about’, but (just like in kever) it may only be used with a possessive pronoun, never with a noun or any other kind of pronoun. Here is a table of all the possibilities.

in ow herhyn or i’m kerhyn ‘all around me’

in dha gerhyn or i’th kerhyn ‘all around you’

in y gerhyn‘all around him or it’ (masculine reference)

in hy herhyn ‘all around her or it’ (feminine reference)

in agan kerhyn or i’gan kerhyn ‘all around us’

in agas kerhyn or i’gas kerhyn ‘all around you’ (plural or stranger)

in aga herhyn or i’ga herhyn ‘all around them’

In kerhyn is commonly employed in the context of wearing clothes, as in the example above. Adro dhe ‘around’ can be used in the same way. For instance, yth esa pows dhu adro dhedhy (Lesson Three). Adro dhe is the only option with a noun.

In herwyth is another preposition meaning 'around' that is restricted to possessive pronouns and which works just like in kerhyn. It is however found exclusively in contexts of clothing and companions. It is distinct from simple preposition herwyth ‘according to’, but herwyth and in herwyth share a literary flavour.


Here are a few more new words.

Godhalek Irish, kendonor borrower (of money), prestyor lender (of money)

Kendonor refers to someone who borrows money or is otherwise indebted to a creditor, so it can also mean ‘debtor’. The general word for ‘creditor’ is dettor. Be careful – this word does not mean ‘debtor’!

Practys Try ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Three

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Whether or not you agree, I intend to get rid of all the old bikes we’ve been keeping in the garage. They’re now learning Irish as well as going to Cornish classes. Neither a borrower nor a lender be. I don’t know whether he loves me or not. It doesn’t matter whether you put it here or there.


Here are some more new words.

arlùth lord, arva v arm, aventur adventure, batel battle, brôsya stitch, embroider, bry value, esteem, cledha m & f sword, colorya colour, dye, comprehendya include, corforek adj physical, creatya create, dala = dadhla, dasterevel rebuild, reconstruct, desîrya desire, dur steel, dyffres protect, dyfygyans decline, efander space, estêmya admire, franchys freedom, govelya smithy, gùtrel furniture, gwaregor bowman, archer, gwia weave, heblythter flexibility, holyans succession, inclûdya include, Keltek Celtic, lether leather, lyw colour, omlath combat, padn cloth, (woven) fabric, ser artisan, seth arrow, sethorieth archery, sin sign, skians knowledge, strîvyans struggle, effort, teknyk technique, teythiak indigenous, traditional (also idiomatic)

gweyth ser predn is carpentry

Practys Peswar ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Four

Yma Crysten ha Tôny ow consydra oll an gwythresow yw dhe dhôwys i’n gowethas enactya arta.


Ny a yll desky pò sethorieth pò omlath ervys mar pëdh whans dhyn a neppëth pòr gorforek.


Ha’n eyl ha’y gela, ymowns y dynyak. Y fëdh sethorieth owth inclûdya skians formya kefrës gwaregow ha sethow. Comprehendys in omlath ervys yma govelya cledhydhyow ha gwil taclow dyffres gans lether ha dur.


Yma spâss rag desky lies creft a’n Osow Cres. Kervyans predn, gweyth ser predn, gweyth gwia. Dâ vëdh dhybm creatya neb gùtrel bian – cader martesen, dre an teknygow teythiak coth.


Yma chauns inwedh rag gwil whel orth padnow. Colorya ha brôsya. Dâ vëdh dhybm gwil dyllas lel dhe’n peswardhegves cansbledhen in oll y vanylyon.


Prag a gemerta an peswardhegves?


Awos bos hobma an cansbledhen moyha hy les dhybm. Kernowek côwsys gans radn larj a’n bobel, ha sonyow an yêth owth hevelly solabrës dh’agan tavas pùb jorna ny; Passyon agan Arlùth; Batel Crécy ha’y gwaregoryon Geltek a’n brâssa bry; Gwerryans Holyans Breten Vian; aventurs erel tramor …


Ha’n Mernans Du – porth cov a hedna!


Wèl, ny via den vëth desîrys dhe verwel rag an dra uthyk-na. Hag y feu dyvotter, me a wor. Saw res yw estêmya colonecter an bobel ha’ga strîvyans dasterevel kemenethow in despît warnodho.


Dhe’m breus vy, pobel Kernow o moy lowen i’n dêwdhegves pò tredhegves cansbledhen.


Hag arlydhy Frynkek aga thavas ow perhedna tir a Gernow in udn lordya? Ha gwesyon a Vreten Vian in lower soodh? Eâ, dalethys veu dyfygyans i’n tavas Kernowek solabrës i’n peswardhegves. Nyns o adhevîs. Mès sin yw hedna dr’esa gwell franchys ha heblythter.


Wèl, dala ny dal. Poynt a brow dhe’n gowethas enactya arta: ma efander inhy rag opynyons lies aga lyw a’n dedhyow eus pell passys.

When Crysten says of the fourteenth century ha sonyow an yêth owth hevelly solabrës dh’agan tavas pùb jorna ny she refers to what scholars call the Prosodic Shift. This was a significant change in the pronunciation of Cornish resulting from greater bilingualism as English became widely spoken in Cornwall for the first time.

Sense of verbal adjectives

It is very misleading to think of a verbal adjective as a ‘past participle’, because it may refer either to completed action or to action that is on-going. It is also incorrect to think of any verbal adjective corresponding to verbs that generally take a direct object (‘transitive verbs’) as being a ‘passive participle’.

This is particularly true of verbs of mental activity. Consider an example:

Determya cabluster a wra an dêwdhek, ervira sentens a wra an jùj.

It’s the jury who determine guilt, the judge who decides sentence.

Both determya and ervira are transitive verbs in this example. You will recall the specific discussion of verbs determya and ervira in Lesson Eleven. Transitively we can say cabluster yw determys gans an dêwdhek ‘guilt is determined by the jury’ and sentens yw ervirys gans an jùj ‘sentence is decided by the judge’. But we may also use the verbal adjectives determys and ervirys intransitively to describe state of mind, saying determys yw an dêwdhek dhe gonvyctya ‘the jury is determined to convict’ or an jùj yw ervirys dhe brysonya an lader ‘the judge has decided to send the thief to prison’.

Here are some further examples.

Lahys an vro a vëdh acordys gans an consel.

The local by-laws are agreed by the council.

An conslers o acordys dhe wil laha dhe’n vro.

The councillors had agreed to make a local by-law.

Cres yw whensys gans an bobel.

The people desire peace.

An jenerals yw whensys dhe cessya heb omlath rag tro.

The generals want a temporary pause in hostilities.

Rychys ny vëdh desîrys gans pùb huny.

Not everyone desires wealth.

Fest desîrys owgh why dhe gafos rychys.

You have set your heart on getting rich.

An gweres-ma yw porposys rag sewajya dyvotter.

This aid is intended for famine relief.

Porposys en ny dhe brovia boos dhe’n bobel in dyvotter.

Our intention was to provide food for the people affected by famine.

Some verbs involving motion have verbal adjectives that work in the same way. Here are a couple of examples.

Drehedhys yw oll aga forpos.

They’ve attained their whole objective.

Drehedhys veun ny bys in Lanstefan pàn sùffras an carr mothow.

We had got as far as Launceston when the car broke down.

Dyberthys vëdh an dhew vagas a dhywysyon dre ge lesta.

The two groups of supporters will be separated by a barrier.

Dyberthys veuva hanter-nos. He left at midnight.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Thirteen

Click or tap here 




Attributive adjective preceding its noun

Inflected comparative and superlative adjectives are usually placed before their noun. And ordinal numerals always come before their noun. Otherwise the general rule is that an attributive adjective follows its noun. But there are a few exceptions when an adjective is employed in some special sense. For example, dyvers means ‘various’ when it precedes its noun. Compare dewetha which usually precedes its noun (because it originated as a superlative); when it is placed after its noun this can be to mark a special meaning such as ‘final’ or ‘ultimate’.

We place ewn before its noun when the sense is ‘sheer’ (intensification). So for example ny glôwaf dhe’m troos rag ewn anwos ‘I can’t feel my feet for sheer cold’, hy a glamderas rag ewn euth ‘she swooned out of sheer terror’. There are also the phrases rag ewn angùs ‘in sheer agony’, rag ewn sorr ‘in sheer anger’ and rag ewn gerensa ‘out of sheer love’.

This last example illustrates the principle that, when an attributive adjective (but not a comparative, a superlative or an ordinal) precedes its noun, we may put the noun into Second State. But this is by no means an absolute rule.

Here are other instances of adjectives preceding their noun, all of them taken from the historical literature. There is a sense of intensification in every case.

cuv colon ‘dearly beloved’ or ‘darling’, cuv enef ‘soulmate’

lel eglos ‘true church’, lel Drynsys ‘faithful Trinity’, lel fëdh ‘true faith’, lel gwas ‘true servant’, lel inherytans ‘true inheritance’, lel jùj ‘true judge’, lel kig ‘true flesh’, lel profus ‘true prophet’, lel sens ‘true sense’, lel Werhes ‘true Virgin’

ogas car ‘close kinsman’

an present termyn ‘the present’

rag pur dhuwhan ‘for sheer affliction’, pur ês ‘pure ease’, pur euth ‘sheer terror’, pur harlot ‘utter scoundrel’, rag pur own ‘for sheer fright’, pur tormont ‘severe torment’

an very caus ‘the very reason’, an very corf ‘the very body’, an very geryow ‘the very words’, an very spows ‘the very spouse’, an very sùbstans ‘the very substance’, in very dêda ‘in very deed’, rag very spît ‘for very spite’

vil hora ‘vile whore’, vil pedn pyst ‘vile fool’

Attributive adjective as prefix

The adjectives cabm ‘askew, wrong’, cragh ‘scabby, inferior’, drog ‘bad, evil’, fâls ‘false’, fekyl ‘insincere’, gwadn ‘weak, lax’, hager ‘ugly, nasty’ are used as stand-alone words predicatively; cabm and gwadn are also used after a noun attributively. The others become prefixes when they are attributive; as do cabm and gwadn when they are closely bound into the meaning of the resulting compound word. In the case of cabm, cragh, drog, gwadn a hyphen may be employed but is often omitted. In the other cases a hyphen is usual. The same principle operates that the second element may be put into Second State. Here are examples.

cabmwonys ‘[make a] mistake’, craghjentyl ‘snobbish’, drogober ‘crime’, fâls-gwary ‘foul (in football etc)’, fekyl-cher ‘insincerity’, gwadnrêwl ‘mismanagement’, hager-gowas ‘torrential rain’

The adjective leun is used as a stand-alone word both attributively and predicatively. It precedes the noun attributively in some fixed phrases, triggering Second State where applicable (but often resists): for instance, gwil leun amendys ‘make full amends’, leun vadnath ‘full blessing’, leun devôcyon ‘complete devotion’. It may also be employed attributively as a prefix, usually without a hyphen. For example, a leungolon ‘wholeheartedly’, leunstroth ‘lockdown’. A cadnas leungalosek is a ‘plenipotentiary’. Occasionally preposition a is omitted when the sense is ‘full of’. For example, leun crindythow ‘cliché-ridden’.


Here are some more new words.

carpenter carpenter, caspows coat of mail (also ‘flak jacket’ in modern times), clout (piece of) cloth, dewana pierce, ew col yew(s), hedhes reach (as masculine noun ‘range’), kewargh col hemp, lin flax, mail mail (armour), mortal lethal (also mortal), nerthek powerful, newton newton, owrlyn silk, scarf joint (carpentry), setha shoot, stoff material

Practys Pymp ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Five

De Sadorn dohajëdh. Yma Powl, Mark ha Danyel ow vysytya Dëdh Daras Egerys a’n Creftow Cresosek, ha hebma trevnys gans an gowethas enactya arta mayth yw Tôny ha Crysten esely. Pàn usy Powl owth attendya gweyth ser predn an carpenters, ha Tôny ow showya an teknyk rag formya scarfys y gader, ha styrya i’n kettermyn fatell o caderyow arweth a gre i’n Osow Cres, yma Mark ha Danyel ow whythra splat an waregoryon, may ma Crysten ow tysqwedhes hy gwarak hir.


An warak-ma yw gwrës a bredn ew. Saw an lînen yw stoff arnowyth; i’n Osow Cres y fia lin, owrlyn, pò kewargh. Ogas dew vêter yw an warak ha fest nerthek. Dew cans ha hanter-cans newton. Ha nerth an brâssa gwaregow i’n termyn eus passys o meur moy, bys eth cans newton.


Py seul pellder y hylly seth hedhes?


Wèl, yth hangya in nes crefter an warak ha poos an seth. In Batel Crécy, rag ensampyl, an pelha hedhes o moy ès tryhans ha hanter-cans mêter. Hag y a wodhya setha bys whe gweyth an vynysen.


A ylly an sethow dewana den mailys?


Caspows mail scav martesen. Bohes venowgh den durblâtys. Saw dhe lies soudor kebmyn nyns esa ma’s dyllas cloutys tew i'ga herhyn. Hager-gowas a sethow gwarak hir o mortal orth an re-na, ha’n envy lower torn ow fia dhe’n fo rag pur own.

Dëdh Daras Egerys (literally ‘Opened Door Day’) is an Open Day.

Loan-words beginning with g may resist Second State mutation. Gre is one instance. Others are gis and gramer ‘grammar’.

Corden is ‘string’ as a material, and this word is also used for the string of a musical instrument or a tennis racket; and for a string in theoretical physics. But we use lînen for the string of a bow or a string for manipulating a puppet.

Den mailys is a man in chain-mail armour. Den durblâtys is a man in plate armour. The verb mailya itself means ‘wrap’ in everyday usage.

Fia dhe’n fo is a fixed phrase meaning ‘flee, run away’. Fia alone can mean ‘flee’, and fo means ‘flight (fleeing)’, but they are typically combined to avoid confusion with Fifth State forms of bos.

More about intensification

The various expressions res yw (yth yw res), res o (yth o res), y fëdh res, y feu res, y fia res etc, all equivalent to English verb ‘must’, can be strengthened by adding porrês (literally ‘pure necessity’). So we may say, for example, res porrês yw restrydna furvlen toll or res yw porrês restrydna furvlen toll ‘it’s essential to file a tax return’.

The expression yma otham equivalent to English verb ‘need’ is easily strengthened by adding brâs after otham. So we may say, for instance, yma otham brâs dhybm a bowes ‘I really need a rest’.

Reduced suffixed pronouns

The personal pronouns ma and ta are always suffixed to form a single word with the verb, as in ny worama ‘I don’t know’ and a yllysta? (or a ylta?) ‘can you?’ The personal pronoun va is usually written as a separate word, but is conventionally suffixed to verb forms ending in eu as in ny veuva ‘he was not’.

We occasionally find ma, ta, va reduced to just a. This is usually suffixed to the verb, as in for example osa (oja) ‘you are’ or ywa ‘he is’. But the is prefixed to vy. So for instance y whrug avy ‘I did’ and ny dheuth avy ‘I did not come’ are alternatives to y whrug vy and ny dheuth vy. Substituting avy for vy is purely a matter of style; there is no additional emphasis.

We may also use avy as an alternative to vy when we are reinforcing possessive pronoun ow (’m, ’w) ‘my’. For example, dhe’m breus avy ‘in my opinion’.


Here are some more new words.

an Chanel the [English] Channel, army army, arva carnage, slaughter, Bretmes Brexit, Frynkek French (adjective), galosek powerful, gloryùs glorious, gormel praise, gwelhevyn col aristocracy, kenedhel nation (also specific generation), lu host, army, nacyon nation, omdhesedha adapt (oneself), outray outrage, atrocity, parth side, pretendya claim, Sows Englishman, Sowsnek English (adjective), story story, tenewen side (also flank), tevyans growth

Practys Whe ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Six

I’n Daras Egerys yma Danyel ow tos warbydn y dhescadores Mêstres Rowe.

Mêstres Rowe:

A Danyel, lowena dhis! A wrusta desky meur adro dhe waregow? Me a’th verkyas namnygen wàr splat an waregoryon.


An venyn a gôwsy a grefter an warak hir. Hag a Vatel Crécy. Me a redyas a’n vatel-na. Y feu dêwdhek mil soudor marow wàr an tu Frynkek, heb moy ès tryhans marow wàr an barth Sowsnek. An Tressa Edward, nyns esa gwir lowr dhe ev, dell hevel dhybm, gwil outray a’n par-na. Prag yma lies huny ow cormel an arva-ma? Kepar ha pàn ve neppëth yw gloryùs!

Mêstres Rowe:

Hèm yw qwestyon pòr dhâ, Danyel. Yth esa teknygow gwerrya ow chaunjya i’n termyn-na, ha luyow Frynk tabm lenta rag omdhesedha ages army Edward pàr hap. Saw nyns yw neb batel gloryùs inhy hy honen. Ny via batalyow vëth mara pe an bÿs adhevîs. Gloryùs yw an story a wra an bobel desmygy warlergh an dra dhe wharvos. Istory an dra.


Ha pëth yw istory Batel Crécy dhana?

Mêstres Rowe:

Yth yw udn radn a’n tevyans a’n Sowson bys i’n nacyon a’gan dedhyow ny. An Sowson ha’n Francas, yth êns y kehaval lies maner i’n termyn eus passys, kyns Gwerryans an Cans Bledhen. Ha’n gwelhevyn ow côwsel Frynkek wàr an dhew denewen a’n Chanel. Wosa oll an gwerryans an dhyw genedhel a dhalathas omsensy aga bos meur moy dyberthys an eyl dhort hy ben.


Ytho Crécy yw dhe vlâmya rag Bretmes!

Mêstres Rowe:

Pùb termyn y fydn bùsh brâs a bobel pretendya bos istory dhe vlâmya rag pùptra! Res yw ùnderstondya istory, may hallon ny convedhes py mar alosek ywa. Mès res porrês yw heb bos kêthyon in dadno.

All about oll

The adjective oll is irregular in that it is used attributively but is placed neither after its noun nor between the definite article and its noun. This means that word order with oll is often the same as the order of words found with English all. For example, oll an vergh ‘all the horses’. Likewise my a wrug gwakhe oll ow fockettys ‘I emptied all my pockets’. But Cornish goes its own way in a sentence like my a wrug gwakhe oll pockettys ow jerkyn ‘I emptied all the pockets of my jacket’.

Cornish does share with English the rule that oll follows a personal pronoun, so we say why oll for ‘you all’. Or we may say oll ahanowgh, just like English ‘all of you’. But in Cornish the rule for personal pronouns applies to demonstrative pronouns as well, so in Cornish we say hedna oll whereas English requires ‘all that’ or ‘all of that’.

You should make careful note of the following Cornish word order involving oll that is less intuitive and less clear in meaning from an English point of view.

Ev a vydn y wil oll a’y vodh.

He will do it willingly (literally ‘of all his will’).

A’n vytel oll re dhebrys i’n bÿs an gegynieth Frynkek yw an braffa.

Of all the food I’ve eaten in the world French food is the finest.

In the first of these examples oll is taken with the noun in the following prepositional phrase. In the second example it effectively modifies re introducing the adjectival clause.

We often employ oll as an intensifier of pronouns, adverbs and superlative adjectives. For example, pypynag oll ‘whatever’, oll adro ‘all around’, an gegynieth Frynkek yw an braffa oll ‘French cuisine is the finest of all’. Note the ‘sandwich’ construction in a phrase like an gwelha poynt a skians oll ‘the best maxim of all’.

Oll cannot however be used to intensify a preposition directly, unless it is a compound one with an adverbial first element. So we can say oll adro dhe’n scol ‘all round the school’, but we know from Exercise 53 that der oll an scol (literally ‘through all the school’) corresponds to ‘all through the school’.

Saying ‘in case’

The Cornish for ‘in case’ is rag dowt. This may be followed by an infinitive construction. In cases of present reference a bos clause is also possible.

Here are a couple of examples.

Tàn glawlen rag dowt an cloudys dhe dardha.

Take an umbrella in case the heavens open.

Te a dal checkya an oyl rag dowt bos otham arlenwel.

You should check the oil in case it needs topping up.

The negative equivalent is rag dowt na + subjunctive. Occasionally the indicative replaces the subjunctive. For example, tàn gwlanak rag dowt na vy (or vedhys) tobm lowr ‘take a jumper in case you’re not warm enough’.

Cornish dowt sometimes corresponds straightforwardly to modern English ‘doubt’; but here, and quite frequently elsewhere, it has an older meaning of uncertainty mingled with fear.


Here are some more new words.

arenep surface, arv weapon, den jentyl gentleman, dielvedna analyse, diogely flehes child protection, safeguarding, istorek historical, kentrydna stimulate, mab den mankind, meurgerys much loved, natureth m & f natural feeling, human nature, penfenten m source (also spring of water), sarchya search (for), sempelhe simplify, skentyl intelligent (also ‘smart’ of a device), stubma twist (also curve, bend), toul tool, tylda awning (here gazebo at public event)

sevel (w)orth means ‘refrain from’

Cornish adverb ahës ‘lengthwise’ corresponds to English preposition ‘along’ when it is placed after a noun used as an internal object of a verb of motion.

Preposition tereba ‘until’ is followed by an ordinary noun, a verb-noun (when there is no change of subject), a demonstrative pronoun, or an infinitive construction. It is not a literary word or for use in higher registers.

Practys Seyth ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Seven

Warlergh gasa Danyel yma Mêstres Rowe ow kerdhes nebes stallys in udn rew ahës tereba dos dhe’n tylda may ma Powl whath ow miras orth an carpenters ha’ga whel.

Mêstres Rowe:

Dùrda dhe why, Mêster Tonkin. Hebma oll, yma spladn, a nyns yw?


Lowena dhywgh, Mêstres Rowe. Esowgh why obma rag cùntell tysk tybyans lesson a vëdh dhe les an flehes?

Mêstres Rowe:

Ny vydnaf nefra sevel worth tybyans fresk. Me a gowsas orth dha vab, Danyel, dres ena, ow mos dhyworth splat an waregoryon. Ev a wrug nebes qwestyons fur adro dhe Vatel Crécy. Pòr skentyl yw va, heb bos moy ès deg bloodh kyn fe.


An istory yw testen ganso meurgerys.

Mêstres Rowe:

Yma ev ow sarchya pandr’eus adrëv an fêthyow pòr sempelhës i’n lyfryow yw scrifys dhe flehes. Ev a dal bos war na wrella desky gnas mab den only acordyng dhe wharvedhyansow istorek, rag dowt ev dhe gafos argraf stubmys. Saw mar teuva ha desky natureth warlergh lower penfenten, ev a wodhvyth dielvedna an dedhyow eus passys in maner effethus teg i’n termyn pàn vo va tabm cotha.


Wèl, gromercy dhywgh a gentrydna desmygyans ino. Ow mab aral, Mark, y fëdh dâ ganso ev estêmya oll nerth an arvow usy obma. Saw nyns eus marth vëth dhybm, fatell vydn Danyel miras in dadn arenep an dra.

Mêstres Rowe:

Ha’n den jentyl-ma – an den usy orth y whel wàr an gader sêmly-na? A nyns ywa an descador nowyth a’n Sowsnek i’n scol nessa?


In gwir. Ha me a wrug profya dhodho, ha my avell lewyth, may halla ev dry y gader hag oll y doulys teythiak dhe’n scol elvednek a verr spÿs, rag gwil presentyans a’n gweyth ser predn cresosek oll dhe’n scoloryon. Ny vëdh problem vëth a dhiogely flehes, rag ev yw descador solabrës. Lily Goss a vydn assentya, lyckly lowr.

Mêstres Rowe:

Tybyans bryntyn yw hebma i’wedh!

Personal forms of a-ugh and ages

There are just two prepositions for which we have not yet learned personal forms. Here they are.

a-uhof or a-ugh my ‘above me’

a-uhos or a-ugh ty ‘above you’

a-ughto ‘above him’ or ‘above it’ (masculine reference)

a-ughty ‘above her’ or ‘above it’ (feminine reference)

a-uhon or a-ugh ny ‘above us’

a-uhowgh or a-ugh why ‘above you’ (plural or stranger)

a-ughtans or a-ugh anjy or a-ughta (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘above them’

The inflected form a-uhon is paired with awoles in references. For example, gwelyr paragraf 4 a-uhon ‘see paragraph 4 above’, gwelyr folen 10 awoles ‘see page 10 below’.

agesof or ages my ‘than me’

agesos or ages ty ‘than you’

agesso or ages ev ‘than him’ or ‘than it’ (masculine reference)

agessy or ages hy ‘than her’ or ‘than it’ (feminine reference)

ageson or ages ny ‘than us’

agesowgh or ages why ‘than you’ (plural or stranger)

agessans or ages anjy or agessa (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘than them’

We noted when we first met ages that the shorter ès is more common; and that the personal forms of ages are rarely encountered outside literature.

Conjunction hedre

Hedre means ‘so long as’ looking forward through time. It can correspond to English ‘while’, but its use is very restricted. We only find hedre with subjunctive forms of verbs bos ‘be’ and bêwa ‘live’. These are placed directly after hedre, in Second State. Infixed pronouns are not employed. Erna is effectively the negative equivalent of hedre; and erna may be used with any verb. Here are some examples.

Gesowgh ny dhe bowes hedre ven ow consydra gà frofyans.

Let’s take a break while we think about their offer.

Te a dal diank hedre vo gesys dhis spâss.

You should get out while the going’s good.

Hedre vêwyf (or viv bew), agria ny wrav nefra.

I’ll never agree, so long as I live.

English ‘so long as’ can also be used to express a condition or proviso. We do not use hedre in this way. So for instance:

Mar teth unweyth ha dysqwedhes in kyffewy y bedn bloodh, ev a vëdh contentys.

So long as you put in an appearance at his birthday party, he will be content.


Here are a couple more new words.

despîtya insult, pollgor committee

Practys Eth ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Eight

What do these sentences mean?

Hedre ven vy caderyor an gowethas-ma, ny vydnaf alowa dhe esely an pollgor despîtya an eyl y gela. A wodhes ponya moy uskys agessy hy? Awotta cledha Damoclês cregys a-ughtans. Erna vosta parys dhe dhyharas, ny gefyth dynar vëth dhorta vy na felha. Lebmyn me yw gobrys deg kebmys avell kyns.

Note the last sentence in particular. This is an alternative to Lebmyn me yw gobrys degweyth moy ès (ages) kyns; and it is also possible, in less formal Cornish, to combine the constructions as Lebmyn me yw gobrys degweyth moy avell kyns.

Suffixes ak, ek, yl

The adjectival suffixes ak and ek are a single suffix in origin. We find different choices for spelling ak or ek depending on author and date. By the time of the historical texts that have survived, neither vowel was pronounced as spelled: it was reduced to ‘schwa’, which is the sound in English the when that word is pronounced without special emphasis. Throughout the Cara Kernowek course we generally prefer ek. But ak is spelled when a plural in ogyon is in common use; and also in a few adjectives where the ak spelling is customary: gwynsak ‘windy’ for instance. Though the word gwarak ‘bow’ is not a case of the adjectival suffix, we have made the same choice, for the same reason.

The adjectival suffix yl occurs in historical skentyl ‘intelligent’ and perhaps in a handful of place-names like Brannel. We see the stressed form ol in a few words like floholeth ‘childhood’, to which modern coinage flohyl ‘childish’ corresponds. We can cautiously expand this class of adjectives relating to personal characteristics: denyl ‘human’ for instance. The suffix is also suitable for technical terminology. For example, the word teknegyl ‘technical’ itself.

Some Cornish speakers spell this suffix el, applying it (instead of ak or ek) to create many new everyday adjectives where we find suffix al in English or el in Breton or ol in Welsh. So personel is coined, for example, instead of personek ‘personal’. But this practice is a significant ‘levelling-away’ of the Cornish language’s own distinct tradition. It is not recommended. Far-reaching innovation of this kind poses a real danger that Cornish could fragment along dialect lines that never existed in the past.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Fourteen

Click or tap here 





Kettep is an attributive adjective that precedes a singular noun without any mutation. It means ‘every’ in the sense ‘each’: that is, with a sharper focus on individuality than pùb or kenyver. We have met the phrase kettep pedn. Here are a few more examples. As you can see, the word after kettep is not always strictly a noun.

kettep gwas ‘each guy, everyone’ (referring to people) kettep huny ‘each one, everyone’ (referring to people) kettep onen ‘each one, every one’ (referring to people or things) kettep tabm ‘each bit, every bit’

The phrase kettep mab brodn is a particularly emphatic way of saying ‘everyone’.

We frequently find preposition in employed with kettep. This should not be mistaken for particle yn. For example, Nadelyk lowen re’gas bo in kettep pedn! ‘I / we wish you all a merry Christmas!’

Saying ‘let’s’

The usual way to say ‘Let’s do something!’ is Gas (or Gesowgh) ny dhe + verb-noun. We have also learned one-word Bedhyn ‘Let’s be!’ Occasionally other verbs are used in the same way. Leveryn for example means ‘Let’s say!’ It is sometimes claimed that Deun means both ‘Let’s come!’ and ‘Let’s go!’ But this is a misunderstanding. Deun as a stand-alone word only means ‘Let’s come!’ But it is also common in the fixed phrase Deun alebma, literally ‘Let’s come from here!’, which is indeed the Cornish way of saying ‘Let’s go!’

Welsh lenition

Prefixes gor ‘over’ and go ‘under’ are native to Cornish, and regularly become wor and wo in Second State. An worvarhas ‘the supermarket’, for instance. But when Cornish borrowed gorseth ‘gorsedh’ from Welsh, this feminine noun came with its Welsh pattern of lenition (g disappears before o but is not replaced by w). So we say for example me a vydn mos dhe’n Orseth ‘I shall go to the Gorsedh’. Some Cornish speakers have expanded this pattern to a few other Welsh borrowings; for example, gogleth ‘north’, gorlewen ‘west’ (also sunset), gorsaf ‘station’, gohebyth ‘reporter’, golegyth ‘editor’.

Celtic points of the compass

Gogleth and gorlewen are traditional Celtic names for two of the four principal compass points. The other two are dyhow ‘south’, and dùryan ‘east’ (also sunrise). Dyhow continues to be the Cornish word for ‘right’ (as opposed to ‘left’). Its use in the sense ‘south’ comes from seeing compass points relative to the rising sun. Similarly, gogleth is a compound of cledh ‘left’.

Neologisms based on Welsh

The word devnyth means ‘things that are used’ and generally corresponds to English ‘material(s)’, ‘ingredient(s)’ or ‘subject-matter’. We have already met it in the phrase gwil devnyth a ‘utilize, make use of’. Some Cornish speakers favour an artificial verb devnydhya ‘use’ that has been built to noun devnyth on the model of Welsh defnyddio. There is however no doubt that ûsya was the verb employed in traditional Cornish. Preferring neologisms inspired by Welsh at the expense of authentic vocabulary distorts the language away from the genuine heritage of Cornwall that we seek to revive.

A more justifiable word might be dydheurek ‘interesting’, modelled on Welsh diddorol. When this adjective was originally proposed by R. Morton Nance, it was disapproved by his collaborator A.S.D. Smith. But dydheursa ‘would concern’ was subsequently found in Bêwnans Ke, proving the authenticy of Cornish verb dydheur, a reinforced variant of deur (see Lesson Four). The real problem with dydheurek is a semantic one. ‘Concerning’ is not quite the same as ‘interesting’.


Here are some more new words.

canel cinammon, cavach cabbage, cawl col cabbage(s), conyn rabbit, cudhan wood pigeon, dedhwy lay eggs, erba herb (also garden vegetable), erber herb / kitchen garden, Grêk Greek (person), gwerynor peasant, is-caderyores vice-chairwoman, iskel stock, broth, jynjyber ginger, kenyn col leeks, mel honey, modern modern, musur measure, ombrevy prove (to be), per col pears, persyl Cathay col coriander, receyt recipe, sparus frugal, spîcya spice, warrantus authentic

gonesyas jorna is a journeyman, one who has served his apprenticeship in an ancient craft but is not yet a master craftsman

Howldrevel is ‘sunrise’, but an Howldrevel means ‘the Orient’. Likewise howlsedhas is ‘sunset’, and we can say an Howlsedhas for ‘the Occident’.

Practys Naw ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Nine

Yma Crysten ha Tôny gelwys dhe ‘Con Plantagenet’ in chy is-caderyores an gowethas enactya arta. Res yw dhe’n ôstysy, kettep onen, dry dhe’n gon udn sant cresosek y gis.


Pandra yllyn ny dry? My a wrug sarchya i’n worvarhas ha ny gefys tra vëth ma’s taclow modern!


Gas ny dhe wil kepar ha pobel gebmyn a’n Osow Cres. Scant ny’s teva kig dhe’n bord. Ny ylly den bohosak debry kig heb cachya conyn pò cudhan wyls. Saw yth esa losow prest. Me a vydn parusy pot a gowl cawl delycyùs. Cowl ha cawl, namnag yns y an keth tra i’n Kernowek! Cavach ytho, hag onyon pò kenyn ganso. Mara mydnaf soposya bos yar dhybm na wor dedhwy na felha, me a yll ûsya hy iskel. Hag y fëdh res porrês keworra musur a bersyl Cathay.


Cathay? Chîna? A ny via neppëth a’n Howldrevel gorlanwes heb bos warrantus mesk an weryn in oos moy avarr?


Nâ, cudyn vëth. Nyns yw persyl Cathay ma’s y hanow romantek. Yth o an erba-ma dhe gafos in mesk an Grêkys Coth solabrës. Y fedha va ow tevy in lies erber cresosek.


Ha pëth allama vy gorra dhe’n kydnyow? Dha gowl cavach yw tùch re sparus dell hevel dhybm. Y halsen tyby ow gour vy dhe vos tabm rycha ages gwerynor sempel. A nyns osa mêster carpenter, gans dha gader hag oll an toulys?


Leveryn gonesyas jorna! Prag na wreta jy gorra neb sant melys êsy? Per medhow, rag ensampyl. Bros y in gwin rudh. Gans mel, aysel rag gwil sawor wheg ha trenk. Addya canel ha jynjyber dhe spîcya. Ha rag ombrevy dha vos benyn gevothak. Y fia hedna receyt gwir a’n termyn eus passys.


Ha’n devnyth i’n worvarhas wosa pùptra. Deun alebma! Gas ny dhe brenassa, agan dew warbarth.

Cathay is a mediaeval name for China. It is still sometimes encountered in Cornish today. This usage does not accord with modern principles of international comity, and nowadays we should prefer Chîna when naming the country itself. But the old name is unobjectionable in a traditional phrasal noun like persyl Cathay.

Perfect tense of dos

Dos has a unique perfect tense, meaning ‘I etc have come’. Here it is.

deuvef [vy]

deuves [jy]

deuva ev

deuva hy

deuva + noun subject

deuven [ny]

deuvowgh [why]

deuvens [y]

These forms are very restricted grammatically. The perfect tense of dos can be used without a particle to make a simple statement, and the sense may be enhanced by adding completive particle re. But the subject, if expressed, must always follow the verb: link particle cannot be used, nor can re connect a preceding subject to the verb. We cannot use the perfect tense of dos in a question, a negative statement, or an adjectival clause.

The pronouns vy, jy, ny, why, y are used only to provide emphasis. The pronouns ev, hy can always be omitted, as usual.

Conversationally you may occasionally encounter Deuva as a one-word sentence meaning ‘He’s arrived’ or ‘She’s arrived’ or ‘It’s arrived’ according to context – an alternative to Devedhys yw. Otherwise the perfect tense of dos is confined to literary registers. Be particularly careful to distinguish perfect tense Deuva from present-future tense Y teuva ‘He will come’.

Perfect tense of mos

Mos too has a unique perfect tense, meaning ‘I etc have gone’. It is formed to the same stem as we see in verbal adjective gyllys ‘gone’. Here are all the forms. As with gyllys, we must take care not to confuse the perfect tense of mos with the verb gallos ‘be able’.

galsof [vy]

galsos [jy]

gallas ev

gallas hy

gallas + noun subject

galson [ny]

galsowgh [why]

galsons [y]

The perfect tense of mos is even more restricted grammatically than the perfect of dos. The perfect tense of mos can only be used without a particle to make a simple statement. And the subject, if expressed, must always follow the verb. We cannot use the perfect tense of mos in a question, a negative statement, or an adjectival clause.

The pronouns vy, jy, ny, why, y are used only to provide emphasis. The pronouns ev, hy can always be omitted, as usual.

Conversationally you may occasionally encounter Gallas as a one-word sentence meaning ‘He’s gone’ or ‘She’s gone’ or ‘It’s gone’ according to context – an alternative to Gyllys yw. Otherwise the perfect tense of mos is confined to literary registers.

Pluperfect tense

We noted in Lesson Seven that historically the conditional tense had ‘pluperfect’ meaning. That is, it could be used to refer to anterior time in the past. In English we form the pluperfect with auxiliary verb ‘had’. For example, ‘By the time I arrived at the party my friends had already left’.

Pluperfect meaning is not attested for this tense after the fourteenth century. So it will be proper to reserve the usage in modern Cornish exclusively to high literary registers. If we do choose to employ the tense with pluperfect meaning, we can make that sense clearer by deloying completive particle re for affirmative statements and adjectival clauses.

Here are a few examples, all in deliberately elevated register.

Duw re’m rosa bêwnans.

God had given me life.

Bythqweth ny wothvien fâlsury kepar.

Never had we known such treachery.

Y tybarthsons pàn depsens.

They departed once they had eaten.

In the last example depsens reflects the fact that First State d very frequently appears after pàn (and abàn) in our historical sources where we might expect Second State dh. This is part of a wider phenomenon of maintaining initial d when the preceding word (or element) ends in n. We have encountered it in the formation pendescadores for example; and in the phrase leun devôcyon.

Yma, ymowns versus eus, usy, usons  

We can now reduce the matter to a single rule. When particle y is grammatically required, the correct forms are yma and ymowns; these become ma and mowns after may (which incorporates particle y) and ple / py (where particle is elided). Consequently, (yth) is not employed with eus, usy, usons; this applies equally to the particle as a stand-alone word and when it is part of the composites may (mayth), pleth, pyth.

Exclamatory adjective

A disyllabic inflected comparative (or superlative in those few cases where a separate form exists) may be combined with a monosyllabic noun in Second State to form an exclamation. Here are a two common instances.

Tecka wel! What a beautiful sight!

Drocka loos! What a pain!

In Origo Mundi (line 753) we find ‘Tecka wel yw homma!’ The use of hobma caused R. Morton Nance to designate gwel ‘sight’ as a feminine noun. But the corresponding noun in Breton is masculine, and it is possible that hobma here refers to the whole circumstance. Feminine reference in Cornish is typical for circumstances.


Here are some more new words.

degor carrier, diena pant, omdôwlel wrestle, struggle, prÿjweyth moment, instant, tùll disappointment (also deceit), zyp zip

Practys Deg ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy

Yma Elen ow fysky dhe orsaf an bùssow in Trûrû rag kemeres kyttryn. Y fëdh hy owth ôstya gans hy hothman Morwena Tregelles in Austol dres pedn an seythen. Yma Mark ow mos gans Elen dhe’n gorsaf, avell degor a’y throg dyllas.


Fysten! Gyllys yw eur an kyttryn. Holergh ov. Re bo govenek y vos holergh kefrës!


(troblys) Hay sav! Nyns yw an trog-ma degës yn ewn.

I’n very prÿjweyth ma’n leverys, ot an trog ow tardha yn egerys, ha lower dyllas ow codha dhe’n dor.


Ogh Mark! Pandra wrusta gwil?


My? Tra vëth! An sagh yw cragh! Prag na’th eus onen gwell y zyp i’n bÿs?

Yma Mark ow trùssa an taclow unweyth arta, scaffa galla, hag owth omdôwlel gans an zyp.


Otta va worteweth. Maga teg dell re bia. Now poon, Mabm! Cachya whath an bùss pàr hap!


(hag y devedhys ow tiena i’n gorsaf) Nâ. Gallas. Drocka dùll. Me a res gortos an nessa.

Maga teg dell re bia is a quotation from Passyon agan Arlùth.

Limitations of grammatical gender

As a general rule a singular noun has a gender that is fixed by grammar. So ky is masculine, for example, and cath is feminine. Plurals do not really have any gender; though we often think of them loosely as having the same gender as the corresponding singular forms. But collective nouns are always treated as genderless.

If natural gender conflicts with grammatical gender, then we can resolve it by using a modified word whenever one is available. So we may for example use feminine noun gest ‘bitch’ for a female dog; or masculine noun gourgath ‘tom-cat’ for a male cat.

Gourgath however breaks another general rule that, in compound words, the final element determines the gender of the whole. So gourgath should itself be a feminine noun; but sense overrides grammar in this case. Sense can override grammar even when no distinct word is available.

Pronoun reference may likewise follow sense rather than strict grammar. And pronouns match with meaning more readily than nouns. So if we use ky instead of gest for a female dog, we shall still say an ky; but we may well use pronoun hy to refer to it. When we are dealing with a person, pronoun reference always follows natural gender. So cadnas ‘messenger’ is a feminine noun, and we say an gadnas for a messenger of whatever sex or sexual orientation. But a specifically male messenger will invariably be ev, not hy.

The practice of personally indicating a pronoun preference works in Cornish as in other languages that distinguish sex or gender in their pronoun system. So anyone may choose to be ev or hy or gender non-specific (anjy), with the corresponding possessive pronoun, and ask for this choice to be respected.

More about pronoun reference

While we are thinking about pronoun reference, we might also consider the use of the pronouns y, anjy, aga, ynsy. These are the reference pronouns for plural nouns and collective nouns; also for pobel when it means ‘people’ generally as opposed to a specific people (as first noted in Book Two, Lesson Two). We also use these pronouns to refer to nouns or other pronouns that are grammatically singular but plural in sense. We may call them ‘quasi-plurals’. For example, pymp den, whe benyn, lower onen, pùb huny. Remember how Crysten said Saw dhe lies soudor kebmyn nyns esa ma’s dyllas cloutys tew i’ga herhyn.

We use singular adjective aral ‘other’ with a singular noun or a quasi-plural. We use plural adjective erel ‘other’ with a plural noun, a collective noun, and with pobel when it has collective sense. But pronominals an aral ‘the other one’ and an re erel ‘the other ones’ are always employed straightforwardly according to sense. For example, an re erel referring to an seyth flogh aral.


Here are some more new words.

adhyrag = dhyrag, alergeth allergy, aparn apron, araya arrange (also lay out), bës finger (also toe), brenyans instruction(s), notice, brewyon col mash (also crumbs), bros very hot, brôsweyth embroidery, creftweyth handicraft, crispows f bodice (also waistcoat), fest feast, gormola praise, compliment(s), gwlân col wool, gwrias sew, handla handle, hevelep resemblance, hogh hog, lo spoon, lomen mush, mâta mate, neujedna stitch, odour odour, smell, patâta potato, rôstyans roast(ing), scaldya scald, tallyour platter, tradycyonal traditional, tregh slice

ewl is ‘craving’; ewl boos is ‘appetite’

Historically fery was a parish feast, but the word may also now be used for any similar secular event of a local nature.

Practys Udnek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy One

Warlergh spêda hy Dëdh Daras Egerys, an gowethas enactya arta a wrug araya Rôstyans Hogh Cresosek, ha gwertha tôknys ‘Deber myns a ylly’. Yma Tùbmas ha’y vâta Hecka owth examnya an vytel.


An kig-ma yw bednath dhe’n syght. Ha’n odour yw rial. Ass yw dieth nag esa patâtys in Kernow i’n dedhyow coth! Asclejen vëth! Saw salad vëth naneyl, grâss e dhe Dhuw!


Nyns eus asclas. Na sows cogh. Saw yma kedhow. Ha yos avallow. Hag onyon fries. Ha brewyon panes. Ha lomen pÿs. Ha bara lel dhe’n oos. Hevelep toos trenk.


Gevowgh dhybm. Esowgh why ow cortos i’n lost? Pò only ow miras?


Nâ, yth eson ow cortos. Saw why ha’gas teylu a yll mos adhyraga ny. Nyns eus dhe ny hast. Semlant an dhew vaw yw onen leun ewl boos!


Dùrdala dhe why!


(avell maghteth dhe’n fest) Kemerowgh tallyour, kettep huny. Tallyours predn yns y, gwrës gèn carpenters agan cowethas. Kemerowgh onen a’gan loyow predn kefrës. Ha redyowgh an brenyans brâs y bris-na, mar pleg. Dywyêthek yw. Read the important notice please! “Derif alergeth arâg dorn! Ha roy udn tallyour hag udn lo arta dhe’n parra golhy lestry i’n dyweth!” Creftweyth yw, na vensen ny kelly a’gan bodh.


Mêstres Chegwyn, a nyns os? Mar callam. Dha dhyllas yw pòr sêmly dhe’m breus. A veu hebma gwries gans pobel an gowethas?


Gromercy a’n gormola caradow. An brôsweyth wàr an grispows a veu neujednys genef ow honen. Ha’n patron yw tradycyonal. Saw tew yw an padn gwlân, ha’n tan-ma ha bùsh brâs a vog re ogas! Res porrês yw dhe’m gour gwysca aparn rag handla an kig.


(avell gwas dhe’n fest) Drewgh tallyour obma ha recêva tregh a’gan hogh bryntyn. Besias bedhens war! Na scaldyowgh wàr an berry bros! Gwrewgh servya gàs honen orth brewyon ha lomen hag oll.


Hèm yw meur gwell ès lesson Sowsnek, syra!

Jana Bligh:

Hay Elen! Lowena dhis! Ha ny ow covyn orthyn mara’th welyn ha’n teylu i’n fery-ma!


Lowena dhis, a Jana. Ha Zoe genes i’wedh! Tecka wel heb y wetyas. Gwrewgh jùnya dhe’n lost, ha ny a vydn esedha warbarth ha talkya wosa pols.

Mar callam ‘if I may’, because Elen ventures dispensing with why-forms though she does not know Crysten well.

Intensifying adjectives as adverbs

In Lesson Fourteen we saw that intensification is the common thread for adjectives that are placed in front of their noun. A few of these adjectives are also employed as intensifiers adverbially.

We already know poran ‘exactly’, which is a worn-down form of pòr ewn (originally pur ewn). We can also use yn ewn to mean ‘straight’ of motion to or from: yn ewn dhyworth an penfenten ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’, for instance.

We can also place pur after an adjective as a strong intensifier. For example, muscok pur ‘stark raving mad’.

We can employ lel adverbially in the sense ‘truly, genuinely’. For example, pòr lel descendys a ‘being a true descendant of’, lel jùjya ‘judge truly’, lel recordys ‘accurately recorded’.

We may use very adverbially just as in English. For example, very dâ ‘very good’, very ernysh ‘very earnestly’, very grêvùs ‘very grievous’, very plain ‘very plain (clear)’; these should be understood as considerably more emphatic than pòr dhâ etc. We have also encountered the phrase very nebes; here too very strongly reinforces the sense.

More about prefixation

In Lesson Fourteen we looked at prefixing adjectives that may also occur as stand-alone words. In addition, there are a few ‘bound’ elements that are only found as prefixes; they never stand-alone.

Prefix chif means ‘chief’ or ‘principal’.

Prefix cowl means ‘complete’. It is a contraction of stand-alone adverb cowal ‘completely’. In a few words it is further reduced to col: as in colenwel for instance.

Prefix fug means ‘fake’. It is a modern adaptation of attested noun fugyon ‘sham’.

We first met prefix is in Book One. It means ‘sub-‘, ‘subordinate’, ‘deputy’, etc. It is a shortened form of stand-alone adjective isel.

Prefix tebel means ‘bad, evil’. And plural tebeles is a stand-alone word meaning ‘bad guys’.

Prefix ugh means ‘high’, ‘super’, ‘hyper’ etc. It is a shortened form of stand-alone adjective uhel.

There is prefix bad meaning ‘bad, evil’, which might be classified with drog except that it is in fact used attributively (preceding its noun, which remains in First State), as well as in the fixed phrase dâ ha bad ‘good and bad’. And there is prefix skyl meaning ‘rather’, which is used as a stand-alone noun meaning ‘shoots’ but is then spelled skyll.

Here are examples.

chif-clojiores matron (in a hospital), cowl-sùbmen total, fug’hanow pseudonym, ispoynt ‘minimum’, tebel-dhyweth ‘sticky end’, ughboynt maximum, bad-ober crime, skylderrys slightly damaged

We do not find Second State after prefixes chif, is, bad. We do usually find Second State after prefixes cowl, fug, skyl. Usage for prefixes tebel and ugh depends on the individual word.

Counting beyond a hundred

We have encountered numerals higher than a hundred in the context of numbering calendar years. Talking about money will be the other principal context for using large numerals in conversation.

Multiples of a hundred are straightforward, except that 200 is grammatically irregular and 300 has an unusual spelling. Remember cans is both a numeral and a masculine singular noun. We never use udn with cans.

100 cans

200 dew cans

300 tryhans

400 peswar cans

500 pymp cans

600 whe (or whegh) cans

700 seyth cans

800 eth cans

900 naw cans

Multiples of a thousand are also straightforward, except that 3,000 has an unusual spelling and 10,000 is grammatically irregular. Remember mil is both a numeral and a feminine singular noun. As a numeral it is followed by Second State mutation. We never use udn with mil.

1,000 mil

2,000 dyw vil

3,000 tremil

4,000 peder mil

5,000 pymp mil

6,000 whe (or whegh) mil

7,000 seyth mil

8,000 eth mil

9,000 naw mil

10,000 deg vil

Complex numerals may be constructed either traditionally or in accordance with the decimal system. In the traditional system ha is used to join the last element of a complex numeral if that element is a single word. Otherwise elements are simply juxtaposed, always separated by a comma in the traditional system, with only thousands and hundreds separated by a comma in the decimal system. Here are some examples.


Traditional cans hag onen, decimal cans onen

Traditional cans hag udn + noun, decimal cans udn + noun


Traditional dew cans ha deg, decimal dew cans deg


Traditional tryhans hag ugans, decimal tryhans ugans


Traditional peswar cans, deg warn ugans, decimal peswar cans, try deg


Traditional pymp cans ha hanter-cans, decimal pymp cans, pymp deg


Traditional seyth cans, pymthek ha try ugans, decimal seyth cans, seyth deg pymp


Traditional mil hag onen, decimal mil onen

Traditional mil hag udn + noun, decimal mil udn + noun


Traditional mil, nawnjek ha peswar ugans, decimal mil, naw deg naw


Traditional peder mil, tryhans, eth warn ugans, decimal peder mil, tryhans, dew dheg eth


Traditional whe mil ha peswar ugans, dew cans ha dêwdhekdecimal eth deg mil, dew cans dêwdhek


Traditional dew cans, seyth mil ha dêwgans, naw cans, êtek warn ugans, decimal dew cans, peswar deg seyth mil, naw cans, try deg eth

The last two traditional examples are rather theoretical. We hardly ever encounter the traditional system being used for complex numerals greater than 20,000.

Expressing millions, billions, trillions

Mylyon is a million, bylyon is a billion, trylyon is a trillion. These are masculine singular nouns, not numerals. They are therefore always followed by preposition a and a plural noun; and can be preceded by udn. We may employ milvil as a numeral meaning ‘a million’, followed regularly by a singular noun and Second State mutation; but we do not in practice use this alternative for anything other than a single round million.

We do not require complex numerals involving millions etc very often. In practice they are always formed in the decimal system. For example, 999,999,999 is naw cans, naw deg naw mylyon, naw cans, naw deg naw mil, naw cans, naw deg naw.

Practys Dêwdhek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Two

Put these numerals into figures.

Dew cans, udnek ha dêwgans. Tremil, whe cans, eth ha peswar ugans. Seytek mil, peswar cans, pymp warn ugans. Try cans, naw deg peswar mil, pymp cans, whe deg whe. Dew vylyon, eth cans, peswar deg naw mil, whe cans tredhek.

Practys Tredhek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Three

Put these numerals into words using the decimal system for each one.






Referring to decades

When talking about the recent past we often like to package events into decades (Cornish degvledhednow), rather than specifying individual years. Here are the names of the decades from 1920 to 2040.

an [Nawnjek] Dew Dhegow, an [Nawnjek] Try Degow, an [Nawnjek] Peswar Degow, an [Nawnjek] Pymp Degow, an [Nawnjek] Whe Degow, an [Nawnjek] Seyth Degow, an [Nawnjek] Eth Degow, an [Nawnjek] Naw Degow, an bledhydnyow Dyw Vil Màn, an bledhydnyow Dyw Vil Wardheg, an Dyw Vil Dew Dhegow, an Dyw Vil Try Dhegow

When we talk about age, our own or other people’s, we likewise tend to think in ten-year periods. Here are the names, with sample possessive pronoun hy ‘her’.

hy wardhegow, hy dew-dhegow, hy thry-degow, hy feswar-degow, hy fymp-degow, hy whe-degow, hy seyth-degow, hy eth-degow, hy naw-degow

24 hour clock

Lots of people nowadays employ the 24 hour clock; it is no longer confined to timetables and military planning. We give the hours first, using eur (which cannot be omitted in this system). Then we specify any minutes, without the word mynysen. So 23:00, for example, is teyr eur warn ugans. (Cornish has no equivalent of a phrase like ‘twenty three hundred hours’.) And 23:55 is teyr eur warn ugans, pymthek ha dêwgans.

Practys Peswardhek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Four

Express these times in Cornish, using the 24 hour clock.

01:15, 08:30, 09:45, 13:25, 16:00, 17:35, 19:50, 20:05, 21:10, 22:20

Web addresses

Many Cornish speakers are content to regard English as the international language of web addresses, saying ‘at’ and ‘dot’. You may prefer to substitute orth for ‘at’ and dyjyn for ‘dot’. Dyjyn can be abbreviated to dyj.


Here are some more new words.

caracter character (in story), Fùndyans Benenes Women’s Institute, keslînek parallel, keveryans orientation, Manahek Meneage, perhednes owner (female), tremenys deceased

bos kesplethys in means ‘be involved in’

Practys Pymthek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Five

I’n kensa try lyver a’n cors Cara Kernowek why a wrug redya lies kescows, ha dyvers caracters o kesplethys inans. Prag na wrewgh desmygy moy a gescows intredhans y, poran herwyth agas tybyans agas honen? Mars esowgh in class, why a yll screfa ha performya gwariow cot inwedh. 

Otta pùb caracter, seul re beu henwys i’n try lyver. Osow bloodh an devysogyon yw rag keveryans. Dysqwedhys in pùb câss yw an Practys may feu an caracter campollys dhe’n kensa treveth.

Gwrewgh remembra yth eson obma in bÿs keslînek, ytho den vëth ny vëdh copy in gwrioneth a’n re usy i’gan bÿs nyny.

A - C

Frances AHEARN (1 72), 19 bloodh, trigys in Lanwedhenek, ow studhya in Loundres. Carolyn ANGEAR (1 65), 25 bloodh, cothman dhe Merv Hocking. Tybalt ANGWYN (3 30), prydyth ha novelyth. Joyas ARGALL (2 23), cothman dhe Elen Tonkin. Elsat BERRYMAN (1 43), 25 bloodh, cowethyades dhe Crysten Chegwyn. Jana BLIGH (1 21), 40 bloodh, trigys in Arwednak, demedhys dhe Zoe Eustice, kenderow dhe Elen Tonkin, optycyan. Jâgo BRAY (2 26), 45 bloodh, trigys in Keresk, demedhys dhe Maryan Bray, ôwnter dhe Demelsa Pentreath ha Mark / Danyel Tonkin. Jûlyan BRAY (2 26), 17 bloodh, trigys in Keresk, kenderow Demelsa Pentreath ha Mark / Danyel Tonkin. Maryan BRAY (2 26), 42 bloodh, trigys in Keresk, demedhys dhe Jâgo Bray, modryp dhe Demelsa Pentreath ha Mark / Danyel Tonkin. Vernôna BRAY (2 26), 15 bloodh, trigys in Keresk, kenytherow dhe Demelsa Pentreath ha Mark / Danyel Tonkin. Josh CARDEW (3 36), 12 bloodh, cothman dhe Mark Tonkin. Oliver CARTWRIGHT (1 72), 20 bloodh, trigys in Pow Rësohen, ow studhya in Loundres. Crysten CHEGWYN genys Kemp (1 28), 30 bloodh, trigys in Trûru, demedhys dhe Tôny Chegwyn. Hugh CHEGWYN (1 59), 65 bloodh, trigys in Plymoth, tas Tôny Chegwyn. Tôny CHEGWYN (1 28), 30 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, demedhys dhe Crysten Chegwyn, descador a’n Sowsnek in scol Demelsa Pentreath ha Mark Tonkin. Bastyn COLLETT (2 18), 40 bloodh, cothman dhe Allan Kinver. Alson COMBELLACK (2 36), 45 bloodh, pendescadores scol Demelsa Pentreath.

D - L

Rhodri DAVIES (1 24), 30 bloodh, trigys in Kembra, cothman dhe Dilwyn Evans, esel i’n keth bagas Kernowek. Peternel DYER (1 29), 17 bloodh, trigys in Tewyn Plustry. Gregor ELLIS (1 43), 30 bloodh, cowethyas dhe Crysten Chegwyn. Zoe EUSTICE (3 59), 40 bloodh, trigys in Arwednak, demedhys dhe Jana Bligh, perhednes shoppa. Dilwyn EVANS (1 24), 30 bloodh, trigys in Kembra, caror Gwen Morgan, hag esel in bagas Kernowek. Lowda GLASS (2 16), 45 bloodh, trigys in Austol, cothman dhe Clemens Roskelly ha Morwena Tregelles. Lily GOSS (3 12), 50 bloodh, pendescadores scol Danyel Tonkin. Davyth GRYLLS (1 30), 17 bloodh, trigys in Tewyn Plustry. Sûsan HENDRY (3 30), 25 bloodh, cùssulyadores dhe esel seneth. Merv HOCKING (1 65), 25 bloodh, cothman dhe Carolyn Angear. Alys HOWELL (2 35), 17 bloodh, cothman dhe Demelsa Pentreath. Charlys JENNER (3 44), 60 bloodh, lyfror scol Demelsa Pentreath. Wella KENT (2 7), 14 bloodh, cothman dhe Tamsyn Kneebone, mès in ken scol. Sâra KEVERNE (3 36), 30 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, descadores (mûsyk ha dauncyans) in scol Demelsa Pentreath. Allan KINVER (2 18), 40 bloodh, cothman dhe Bastyn Collett. Tamsyn KNEEBONE (2 7), 14 bloodh, cothman dhe Wella Kent, mès in ken scol. Tomas LANDRY (1 21), 50 bloodh, trigys in nes Alter Non, tiak. Marcus LEAN (1 71), 25 bloodh, cothman dhe Naomi Polkinghorne. Coryn LUTEY (2 47), cothman dhe Jacket Triggs, arfedhys in dadn Adam Scrase.

M - R

Merdhyn ‘Mery’ MERRICK (2 47), 50 bloodh, acowntyas in sodhva Coryn Lutey. Gwen MORGAN (1 24), 25 bloodh, trigys in Kembra, cares Dilwyn Evans. Carajek MOYLE (3 38), 55 bloodh, professour a’n fysyk in Ûnyversyta Kernow (Campùs Trûrû). Brian MUNDY (3 18), 50 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, demedhys dhe Cattern Mundy, hùmbrynkyas Adran Sowsnek in scol Demelsa. Cattern MUNDY (1 11), 45 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, demedhys dhe Brian Mundy, cothman dhe Perys Pentreath. Mathew NANCOLLAS (1 37), 30 bloodh, trigys in Pool, cothman dhe Tôny Chegwyn. Harry NEGUS (1 48), 55 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû. Peder NOON (2 27), 25 bloodh, kenderow dhe Elen Tonkin. Hunkyn PASCOE (1 17), 70 bloodh, trigys in Manahek,  demedhys dhe Lyjy Pascoe, tiak. Lyjy PASCOE (1 17), 65 bloodh, trigys in Manahek, demedhys dhe Hunkyn Pascoe. Jack PENNELL (2 61), 45 bloodh, cowethyas dhe Powl Tonkin. Demelsa PENTREATH (2 1), 17 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, myrgh dhe Perys Pentreath ha Elen Tonkin (Pentreath kyns). Perys PENTREATH (1 11), 45 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, tas Demelsa Pentreath, dydhemedhys, sodhak orth Consel Kernow. Naomi POLKINGHORNE (1 71), 25 bloodh, cothman dhe Marcus Lean. Jenefer PRIDEAUX (1 37), 25 bloodh, trigys in Ewny Redrudh, cothman dhe Crysten Chegwyn. Jowan PRYCE (1 21), 40 bloodh, trigys in Lanstefan, desînor gwias. Clemens ROSKELLY (2 16), 50 bloodh, cothman dhe Lowda Glass. Eryca ROWE (3 12), 30 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, descadores in scol Danyel Tonkin.

S - Z

Lûk SAUNDERS (1 44), 35 bloodh, cowethyas dhe Tôny Chegwyn in y scol kyns in Cambron. Jim SCOTT (3 54), 52 bloodh, broder dhe Ray Scott. Ray SCOTT (3 54), 55 bloodh, client dhe Powl Tonkin. Adam SCRASE (2 47), 40 bloodh, mêster dhe Coryn Lutey. Neil SULLIVAN (3 23), 12 bloodh, scolor i’n keth parra pel droos ha Mark Tonkin. Tùbmas TANGYE (1 48), 65 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, cothman dhe Hecka Weeks. Edward ‘Ted’ TEAGUE (2 33), 35 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, descador a’n dhorydhieth hag a’n bel droos. Danyel TONKIN (2 1), 10 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, mab dhe Powl ha Elen Tonkin. Elen TONKIN (2 1), 40 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, demedhys kyns dhe Perys Pentreath, lebmyn dhe Powl Tonkin, ugh-clojiores. Mark TONKIN (2 1), 12 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, mab dhe Powl ha Elen Tonkin. Paul ‘Powl’ TONKIN (2 1), 40 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, demedhys dhe Elen Tonkin, atorny, lewyth dhe scol Danyel Tonkin. Ross TONKIN (2 28), tremenys 13 bloodh, mab dhe Powl ha Elen Tonkin. Morwena TREGELLES (2 24), 45 bloodh, trigys in Austol, cothman dhe Lowda Glass. Nycol TRELOAR (2 41), 60 bloodh, esel i’n keth Fùndyans Benenes ha Lyjy Pascoe. Jacket TRIGGS (2 47), 25 bloodh, cothman dhe Coryn Lutey. Kyle VENTON (1 43), 30 bloodh, cothman dhe Crysten Chegwyn. Vyvyan WALLIS (1 43), cowethyades dhe Crysten Chegwyn. Victoria ‘Budhek’ WATSON (2 47), scryvynyades in sodhva Coryn Lutey. Hecka WEEKS (1 48), 65 bloodh, trigys in Trûrû, cothman dhe Tùbmas Tangye.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Fifteen

Click or tap here 




The listing is comprehensive for what has been covered specifically in Books One, Two, Three. If you wish to go further at this stage, there is always Gerlyver Kescows – a Cornish dictionary for conversation.

Click or tap here for the dictionary

Abbreviations: adj adjective, adv adverb, col collective noun, conj conjunction, feminine noun, interj interjection, masculine noun, part particle, phr phrase, pl plural noun, prep preposition, pron pronoun, quant quantifier, verb-noun.

Superscript numerals indicate required mutation of following word: 2 Second State, etc. (2) means that Second State mutation depends on the overall grammar.

In entries for ordinary nouns, the plural form is also given; except that for collective nouns it is the singulative that is often added. All singulative nouns in -en are feminine with a plural in -ednow.

Names of cities, towns and villages can be treated as feminine because cyta or tre or pendra can be understood. Most can equally be regarded as genderless (but Loundres is always feminine). A few transparent names may be treated as masculine or feminine according to their composition – Penzans can thus be considered masculine because pedn is masculine or feminine because it is a tre.

Cardinal and ordinal numerals are listed up to twenty, together with the cardinals for fifty, a hundred, a thousand and a million.

A name of letter A

a4 conj if a2 part interrogative particle used to mark closed question

a2 part link particle used to connect preceding subject or direct object to verb, also functions as relative pronoun

a2 part vocative particle, optional when addressing someone

a2 prep from; of

â interj ah

a’n par-ma phr such, like this

a’n par-na phr such, like that

a’n tu’vês phr from outside, external

a ble5 phr where from

a bris phr important

a byle5 See a ble5

A gev a gafam phr I’ll have the same

a leungolon phr wholehearted

a varhas dhâ phr good value, cheap

a verr speyss See a verr spÿs

a verr spÿs phr soon

a’y sav phr standing, stood

a’y vodh phr willingly, gladly

abàn2 conj since

abarth prep on behalf of, in favour of (with nouns)

abarth dhe2 prep on behalf of, in favour of (with pronouns)

abecedary alphabet

aberth in prep inside

aberveth adv inside

ableth ability

abrës adv early

abyl adj able

academyk adj academic

acceptya accept

acord agreement

acordya agree

acordyng dhe2 prep according to

acownt m acowntys account

acownt arhow m acowntys deposit account

acownt erbysy m acowntys savings account

acownt kesres m acowntys current account

acowntyades f acowntyadesow female accountant

acowntyas m acowntysy accountant

adâl prep opposite (with nouns)

adâl dhe2 prep opposite (with pronouns)

adamant m adamantys diamond

adar prep apart from

addya v add

addys adj added; additional, extra

adenewen adv aside; sideways

adermyn adv on time

adhelergh dhe2 prep behind

adhevîs adv first class, ideal

adhewedhes adv late

adhyrag See dhyrag

adhyscans education

adran f adradnow department

adrëv prep behind (with nouns)

adrëv dhe2 prep behind (with pronouns)

adro dhe2 prep around; about

aga3 possessive pron their; them (direct object of verb-noun)

agan possessive pron our; us (direct object of verb-noun)

agas possessive pron your (plural or stranger); you (plural or stranger, direct object of verb-noun)

agensow adv recently

ages See ès

agria v agree, concur

ahës adv lengthwise

airens f airednow aircraft

airêwnans air conditioning

ajy adv in(side)

ajy dhe2 prep inside

aken dhewboynt f akednow dewboynt diaeresis

aken dhieskynus f akednow dieskynus grave accent

aken grobm f akednow crobm circumflex accent

alebma adv from here; ago

alebma rag phr from now on

alergeth m alergedhow allergy

alowa allow

âls f âlsyow cliff

Alter Non Altarnun

alwhedha lock

alwheth m alwhedhow key

alwheth know m alwhedhow spanner

amanyn butter

amary m amarys cupboard

amendya put right, mend

amendys See gwil leun amendys

amêthyans agriculture

amowntyor dêwlin m amowntyoryon laptop (computer)

amowntyor legh m amowntyoryon tablet (computer)

amyttya admit

an(2) definite article the

an Bardh Meur the Grand Bard

an cans phr per cent

an Chanel the [English] Channel

an dêwdhek the jury (in Crown Court)

an dro-ma phr this time

an eyl hy ben phr one another, each other (feminine reference)

an eyl y gela phr one another, each other

an eyl [+ noun] … y gela phr the one … the other

an Howldrevel the Orient

an Howlsedhas the Occident

an jëdh See dëdh

an jëdh hedhyw phr the present day

an jowl See dyowl

an keth adj the same

an keth hedna phr the same [one / thing]

an kethsam adj the very same

an Norvÿs the Earth

an pëth pron what (followed by adjectival clause)

an present termyn phr the present

an ragwel wàr an awel phr the weather forecast

An Stâtarhow pl The Treasury

an Tir Uhel North Cornwall

ancombra embarrass; confuse

ancombrus adj embarrassing; confusing

anella breathe

angra anger

angùs anguish

anjy personal pron they, them

anken adversity, stress

ankevy forget

antarlyk m antarlyckys pantomime

anwesy catch cold

anwhek adj unpleasant

anwos chill; cold (illness)

ap m appyow app

aparn m aprodnyow apron

apperya appear

apposyans m apposyansow examination

arâg adv in front

arâg prep in front of

arâg dorn phr beforehand, previously

aral adj (pl erel) other

araya arrange; lay out

arayans m arayansow arrangement; layout

arbednyk adj particular, special

arbenygya specialize

arenep m arenebow surface

areth f arethyow speech; lecture

arethor m arethoryon speaker (someone who gives a talk or lecture)

arethorieth f oratory

arethya speak publicly, lecture

arfedhor m arfedhoryon employer

arfeth employ

argemydna advertise

argemydnans advertising, publicity

argraf m argrafow impression

argya argue (a case)

arhadow order(s)

arhanty m arhantiow bank (financial)

arhasa fund

arlenwel top up

arlùth m arlydhy lord

army m armys army

arnowyth adj modern

arta adv [back] again

arv f arvow weapon

arva carnage, slaughter

arva arm

arvor coast

arvrusy assess

Arwednak Falmouth

arweth f arwedhyow signal

asclas col asclejen chips, fries

ascor produce

ascorn m eskern bone

ascoryans production

asectour m asectours executor

asen m & f asenas ass, donkey

askel f eskelly wing

aspia catch sight of

ass See assa2

Ass yw dieth! phr What a pity! What a shame!

assa2 part exclamatory particle

assay m assayes attempt; test, rehearsal

assaya try (exercise, effort); rehearse

assayva f assayvaow gym

assentya agree (to something), say yes

astel ober m/v strike (industrial dispute)

astell f estyll board

astell mordardhya f estyll surfboard

astell wydn f estyll gwydn whiteboard

astevery compensate (for), reimburse

asteveryans compensation

aswon know, recognize

aswy f aswiow gap

atorny m atornys solicitor

attendya pay attention (to)

attês adj comfortable

attêsva f attêsvaow toilet

auctoryta authority

auctour m auctours author

audycyon m audycyons audition

a-ugh prep above

Austol St Austell

aval m avallow apple

aval kerensa m avallow tomato

avàn adv upstairs

avarr adv early

avauncya advance, progress

avell prep as, like; than

aventur m aventurs adventure

aventuryans venture

avês dhe2 prep outside

avîsyans advice; notification

avorow adv tomorrow

avy pers pron I, me

awartha adv at the top

awedhya influence

awel f awellow breeze; weather See also an ragwel wàr an awel

awen (delightful) inspiration

Awhêr vëth! phr Don’t worry!

awoles adv at the bottom

awos prep because of; in spite of

awot See otta

awotta See otta

aysel vinegar

aysel triakel balsamic vinegar

baby m babiow baby

bachelerieth baccalaureate

bad attributive adj preceding noun bad, evil

bad-1 pref bad, evil

badna m banahow drop

bad-ober m bad-oberow crime

bagas m bagasow group

bagas ilow m bagasow (musical) band

bagh m bahow hook

bàn See in bàn

banath See bednath

bara bread

bara cogh brown bread

bara nowyth fresh bread

barber m barbers barber

bardh m berdh bard See also an Bardh Meur

bargen m bargenys bargain

bargen tir m bargenys farm

barr m barrys bar

barr-laghyades f barr-laghyadesow female barrister

barr-laghyas m barr-lahysy barrister

basnet m basnettys helmet

batel f batalyow battle

Be name of letter B

be va conj whether … or

be vapò na conj whether … or not

bedh m bedhow grave, tomb

bednath f benothow blessing

ben See an eyl hy ben

benary See bys venary

Benatuw! interj Goodbye!

benthygya borrow

benyn f benenes woman

benyn an laha phr the (female) lawyer

benytha See bys venytha

bern concern

berr See a verr spÿs

berrheans abbreviation; abridgement, précis

berrscrif m berrscrîvyow (written) summary

berry fat

bès See mès

bës m besias finger; toe

best m bestas animal

betraya betray

bew adj living

bêwa v live (one’s life)

bêwnans life

beybel m beyblow bible

bian adj small, little

biologieth biology

blâmya blame

bledhen f bledhydnyow year

blòg m bloggys blog

bloodh year of age

blou adj blue

bò See

bobm m bobmyn bump, punch

bodh See a’y vodh

body m bodys body

bogh f bohow cheek

bohes quant little, not much

bohes coynt phr incompetent

bohes venowgh phr seldom, rarely

bohosak adj poor

bojet m bojettys budget

boll adj see-through

bolla m bollys bowl

bond m bondys band; tyre

boneyl (pò) conj either … or

bones See bos

boneyl conj either … or

bonkya knock (single blow)

bônùs m bônùssow bonus

bool f bolow axe

boosa feed (animal or machine)

boosty m boostiow restaurant, café

bord m bordys table

Borgayn Burgundy

borger m borgers burger

bos kesplethys in phr be involved in

bos maglys gans phr be involved with

bos wàr stray phr be lost

Bosvena Bodmin

botas col botasen boots

botel m & f botellow bottle

boton m botodnow button

box m boxys box

bowyn beef

brâs adj big, large See also dre vrâs

brâs y hanow phr famous, renowned

brathy bite (wound)

brav adj fine

bre f breow hill

bregh f brehow arm

breghtan m breghtanow sandwich

brenyans instruction(s), notice

brës mind

bresel contention, dispute

Breten Vian Brittany

Bretmes Brexit

Bretonek Breton (language)

breus f breusow judgment, opinion

breusyow See breusow

brewgig mince

brewyon col crumbs; mash

briansen throat

bro f broyow area, district

broder m breder brother

brodnlen f bronlednow bib

Bròn Wenyly Brown Willy

bros adj very hot

brôsweyth embroidery

brôsya stitch, embroider

brow coffy m browyow coffee grinder

brusy judge, assess

bry value, esteem

bryght adj bright

bryjyon boil, cook

bryntyn adj noble

Brystow Bristol

bùcket m bùckettys bucket

budhek adj victorious

budhy drown

bufê m bufês buffet

bùly bian col bùlien vian pebbles

bùngalow m bùngalows bungalow

bùs See mès

bûsel dung

bùss m bùssow bus

bùsh m bùshys bush

bùsh quant group (animate or inanimate), amount (inanimate)

buwgh f buhas cow

bycken See bys vycken

bydnar re2 phr + subjunctive expresses strongly negative wish

bykîny m bykînys bikini

byldya build

byldyans m byldyansow building

bylyon m bylyons billion

bys prep up to, until

bÿs world

bys dhe2 prep + pron up to, all the way to

bys dy phr up to that point

bys in prep + noun up to, all the way to, until

bys i’n eur-ma phr until now

bys i’n eur-na phr until then

bys may5 conj until

bys nefra phr for ever

bys obma phr up to this point

bys pàn2 conj until

bys pedn prep for (duration)

bys ty See bys dy

bys venary phr for ever

bys venytha phr for ever

bys vycken phr for ever

bÿs-efan adj worldwide, global

bysow m besewow ring

bysy adj busy; important

bytegyns adv however

Bÿth na lavar a’n dra phr Don’t mention it

byth pàn2 See bÿth pàn2

bÿth pàn2 conj whenever

bythqweth adv ever past reference

byttele adv nonetheless

cabluster guilt

cabm adj crooked; wrong

cabm-(2) pref crooked; wrong

cabmwonys m/v [make a] mistake

cabûlva medley; muddle

cachya catch

cader f caderyow chair (especially of elegance or authority)

caderyor m caderyoryon chair[person]

cadnas f canhasow messenger

cadnas leungalosek f canhasow plenipotentiary

cafos find; get See also A gev a gafam

Cala’ Mê May Day

calcorieth mathematics

cales adj hard; difficult

cales lùck phr hard (bad) luck

calesy harden

caletter m caleterow difficulty

cals a2 quant loads of

Cambron Camborne

camdyby be mistaken

camomdhegyans garow gross misconduct

campolla See compla

campùs m campùssow campus

cân f canow song

cana m canys can (of)

cana sing

canalîsa canalize

canel cinnamon

canel f canolyow channel

cans m/num a/one hundred See also an cans

cansbledhen f cansbledhednow century (100 years)

canstel f canstellow basket


cappa m cappys cap; topping

capten m captenow captain

car m kerens close relative, parent

cara love; conditional tense used to mean ‘would like to’

cara warbarth phr make love

caracter m caracterow character (in story)

caradow adj likeable, friendly

caregek adj rocky

cares f caresow girlfriend

caretys col caretysen carrots

cargor m cargoryon charger

carnak adj rocky

caror m caroryon boyfriend

carpenter m carpenters carpenter

carr m kerry car

carrek f carygy rock

Carrek Loos i’n Coos St Michael’s Mount

carten f cartednow card

carven f carvenow van; carriage (train)

carya transport

caryans transport

carygel f carygellow trolley

caskergh campaign

caspows f caspowsyow coat of mail; flak jacket

câss m câssys case

cast m castys trick

castel m castylly castle

cath f cathas cat

Cathay See Lesson Fifteen

Catholyk adj Catholic

cauns pavement

caus cause

cavach cabbage

cawl col cawlen cabbage(s)

cawlvlejen f cawlvlejednow cauliflower

Ce name of letter C

cent m centys cent

certan adj certain

cessya cease

cessya heb + verb-noun cease

chair m chairys chair

chalynj m chalynjys challenge

chalynjya challenge

chambour m chambours bedroom

chanel See an Chanel

charj task, responsibility; electric charge

chaunjya change

chauns m chauncys chance, opportunity

checkya check

cher mood

chersya pamper

cheryta charity

chevysya borrow

chif-1 pref chief, principal

chif-clojiores f chif-clojioresow matron (in a hospital)

Chîna China

chocklet m chocklettys chocolate

chy adv at home

chy m treven house

Chy an Kenwerth phr The Chamber of Commerce

chy bian toilet, loo (room)

chy fram m treven timber frame house

chyffar (commercial) deal(ing)

chyffar dyscowntys (discount) sale(s)

cladhgell f cladhgellow crypt

class m classys class

classyk adj classic(al)

clâv adj sick, ill

clâvyon pl sick people, patients

cledh adj left (side)

cledha m cledhydhyow sword

clem m clêmys claim

cler adj clear

clerhe clarify, explain

cleves clun sciatica

cleves strewy hayfever

client m cliens client

clojior m clojioryon nurse

clojiores f clojiores nurse

clojy m clojiow hospital

cloud m cloudys cloud

clout m cloutys (piece of) cloth

clôwes hear; smell' taste; feel (by touch)

clùb m clùbbys club

codha fall; should, ought to

codha warbarth phr collapse verb

codna m conaow neck

codna bregh m conaow wrist

codnek adj clever

codnek skill

coffy coffee

coffyjy m coffyjiow café

coffyva f coffyvaow café

cofhe commemorate; remind

cogh adj scarlet

côla cola

colenwel fulful; implement

coll loss

collel f kellyl knife

collverk m colverkys apostrophe

colm codna m colmow [neck]tie

colodnek adj hearty; brave

colon f colodnow heart See also a leungolon

colonecter heartiness; bravery

colorya colour, dye

colour m colours colour

comen voys consensus

comendya commend; recommend; approve; introduce (someone)

comodyta m comodytys commodity; facility

comolek adj cloudy

comondya command

comparya compare

compes adj straight, right; accurate

compla mention

completh adj complicated

composa straighten

comprehendya include

compressa oppress, bully

comptya count

comptyer m comptyers counter

comyck m comycks comic

con f conyow evening dinner

conceyt concept

conclûdya conclude (a discussion)

concydra See consydra

condycyons lavur pl working conditions

confyrmya confirm

consel m consels council

consler m conslers councillor

constrîna force, compel

consydra consider

content m contens content

contentya satisfy

contrary adj contrary

convedhes perceive, comprehend

convyctya convict

conyn m conynas rabbit

copy m copiow copy

corden f kerdyn string

coref beer

corf m corfow body

corforek adj physical

corn m kern horn

cornel f cornellow corner

cornet m cornettow corner

corol m corolyon dance

corolly dance

coronal m coronals colonel

cors m corsow course

cors desky m corsow curriculum

cort f cortys court

cortes adj polite

cosel adj quiet, peaceful

cosmer m cosmers customer

còst m costys cost

còst spênys m costys expense

costly adj costly, expensive

costya cost

cosyn m cosyns cousin; close friend

cot adj short

côta m côtys coat

coth adj old

cothman m cothmans friend

covscrefa register

covyd covid

cowal adv completely

cowas f cowosow shower

coweth m cowetha companion

cowethas f cowethasow society

cowethas enactya arta f cowethasow historical re-enactment society

cowethyades f cowethyadesow female colleague

cowethyas m cowethysy colleague

cowl soup

cowl-2 pref complete

cowl-dhyfygys adj exhausted, burnt out

cowl-gompes adj (fully) qualified

cowl-sùbmen f cowl-sùmednow total

cowntnans attitude

cows talk[ing]

cows v See côwsel

cowsa See côwsel

côwsel speak

cowsor m cowsoryon speaker

coynt adj curious, odd; canny See also bohes coynt

cragh predicative adj scabby; inferior

cragh-(2) pref scabby; inferior

craghjentyl adj snobbish

crambla climb

cras adj parched; toasted

creatya create

crefhe strengthen

creft craft

crefter strength

creftus adj artificial

creftweyth handicraft

cregy hang

crejyans f crejyansow religion

cres adj middle, medium See also in cres

cres peace

cresen f cresednow centre (for some activity)

creslu police

cresor m cresoryon midfielder

cresosek adj mediaeval

cressya See encressya

creswas m creswesyon policeman

cresy believe

crev adj strong

cria call; shout

cria in mes phr shout out; exclaim

cris m crisyow shirt, blouse

crispows m crispowsyow waistcoat, bodice

croffolas complain

croglen f croglednow curtain

crohen f crehyn skin

cronak m cronogas toad

croust packed lunch; snack

crow m crowyow shed

crowd m crowdys violin

crowsek adj cross

crowseryow pl crossword

cryjyk adj religious

cùbert m cùbertys cupboard, locker

cubmyas m cumyasow permission

cubmyas lewyas m cumyasow driving licence

cudha cover, hide

cudhan f cudhonas wood pigeon

cudyn m cudydnow difficulty, problem

cufter kindness

cùmyn cumin

cùntell gather

cùntellyans collection; assembly, meeting

cunys col fuel

cùsca sleep

cùsk sleep

cùssul f cùssulyow (piece of) advice

cùssulya advise

cùssulya warbarth phr consult intransitive

cùssulyadores f cùssulyadoresow female advisor

cuv adj kind

cuv colon phr dearly beloved, darling

cuv enef phr soulmate

cynema m cynemas cinema

cyta f cytas city

cyvyl adj civil

adj good

dâ ha bad phr good and bad

dâ lowr phr good / well enough, okay

da weles phr be seeing you

dadhel f dadhlow discussion, debate

dadhelor m dadheloryon debater; barrister

dadhelores f dadheloresow female debater; female barrister

dadhla discuss, debate

dadn See in dadn

daffar kit, equipment

daffar lybm cutlery

dainty adj delicate

dallath begin

dal See dadhel

dala See dadhla

dalva dispute; debate

dama wydn f damyow gwydn grandmother

damcanieth f damcaniethow theory

danjer See heb danjer

danvon send

dar interj damn (but very mild)

daralla See drolla

daras m darasow door

darbary prepare

darlêsa broadcast

darleverel predict

darn m darnow piece

dascreatya recreate

dasleverel partys arâg dorn phr rehearse (play)

dasseny partys arâg dorn phr rehearse (orchestral performance)

dasterevel rebuild, reconstruct

dastesînya redesign

dasvêwa revive

dasvêwor m dasvêworyon revivalist

dauncya dance

dauncyans dancing

dauncyor m dauncyoryon dancer

dauns m dauncyow dance

daunslunyans choreography

davas f deves sheep

De name of letter D

de adv yesterday

de Gwener adv/m [on] Friday

de Lun adv/m [on] Monday

de Merher adv/m [on] Wednesday

de Merth adv/m [on] Tuesday

de Sadorn adv/m [on] Saturday

de Sul adv/m [on] Sunday

de Yow adv/m [on] Thursday

debâtya debate

debry eat

declarya declare, announce

dêda m dêdys deed

dëdh m dedhyow day

dëdh daras egerys open day

dëdhweyth adv in the day; one day

dedhwy lay eggs

defia defy

defry adv really, seriously See also yn tefry

deg num ten

degador m degadoryn vehicle

degea close

degolyow pl holiday, vacation

degor m degoryon carrier

degrê m degrêdegree (temperature)

degves num tenth

degvledhen f degvledhednow decade

dehen cream

dehen rew ice cream

del col dêlen leaves

dell2 conj as; that

dell hevel phr apparently

dell wosta phr as you know

dell yw ûsys phr as usual, usually

delycyùs adj delicious

delyfrya deliver; release

demedhy marry

demedhyans marriage

democratieth democracy

den m tus man

den an laha phr the (male) lawyer

den durblâtys m tus dhurblâtys man in plate armour

den jentyl m tus jentyl gentleman

den mailys m tus vailys man in chain-mail armour

den vëth pron anyone; no one (when negative implied)

dendyl earn

denyl adj human

departya depart

der2 See dell2

der2 prep through

derevel rise

derivadow information (told or available for telling)

derivas report, tell

descador m descadoryon teacher

descadores f descadoresow female teacher

descendys a2 phr descended from

descryvyans description

deseha dry

desempys adv abruptly; immediately

desînor m desînoryon designer

desîr desire

desîrya desire

desky learn; teach (to someone)

desmygy imagine

desmygyans imagination

despît See in despît dhe2 / wàr2

despîtya insult

destna destine, earmark

determya determine, decide, conclude

determyans determination, decision, conclusion

dettor m detoryon creditor

deu adj finished, spent

Deun alebma! phr Let’s go!

devedhys See dos

devnydhya See Lesson Fifteen

devnyth material(s), ingredient(s), subject-matter

devôcyon devotion, piety

devones See dos

devos See dos

dew2 num two

dew cans num two hundred

dewana pierce

dewas m dewosow drink

dêwdhegves num twelfth

dêwdhek num twelve See also an dêwdhek

dewedhes adj late

dewetha adj latest, last, final, ultimate

dewetha tro phr last time

dewfrik du nose

dewhans adv quick as you can

dewheles return

dêwla du (pair of) hands

dewlagas du (pair of) eyes

dêwlin du (pair of) knees

dha2 possessive pron your singular; you singular (direct object of verb-noun)

dhana adv then

dhe2 prep to

dhe’n dor phr down

dhe’n lyha phr at least

dhe dybmyn phr to pieces

dhe le phr less; the less

dhe ves phr off, away (motion)

dhe voy phr more; the more

dhe well phr better

dhejy personal pron you (emphatic)

dhia2 prep from (place or point in time)

dhort See dhyworth

dhy See dy

dhyrag prep in front of

dhyrag dorn See arâg dorn

dhywar2 prep off

dhyworth prep from (person or place)

diank escape (from danger / imprisonment)

diankva escapism

dianowy yawn

diantel adj precarious

diegrys adj shocked

dielvedna analyse

dien adj entire See also yn tien

diena pant

dieth pity, shame

diogel adj secure, safe

diogely flehes phr child protection, safeguarding

dîvya dive

dobyl adj double

doctour m doctours doctor (PhD, MD, etc)

dogven f dogvednow document

dohajëdh adv/m [in the] afternoon

dollar m dollars dollar

don carry

dones See dos

dor ground See also dhe’n dor

Dor Coth Dolcoath

dorn m dornow hand (in action)

dornas m dornasow handful, fistful

dorydhieth geography

dos come

dôtys wàr2 phr mad (passionate) about

dour adj careful, exact

down adj deep

dowr m dowrow water

Dowr Cober the River Cober

Dowr Tamar the River Tamar

dowrgy m dowrgeun otter

dowrvargh m dowrvergh hippopotamus

dowt m dowtys doubt; uncertainty mingled with fear See also heb dowt

dôwys choice, selection

dôwys choose

dôwysyans election

dr’ See dell2

draght m draghtys draught (drink, playing-piece); draft

drâma drama, stage play

dre2 See derprep

dre lycklod phr probably

dre rêson prep because of

dre rêson a2 prep + verb-noun, demonstrative pronoun because of

dre vain prep by means of

dre vain a2 prep + verb-noun, demonstrative pronoun by means of

dre vrâs phr on the whole, mostly

drefen conj for

drefen prep because of

drehedhes reach

dres prep across; past

dres ehen phr extremely

dres ena phr over there

dres kynda phr extraordinarily

dres otham phr unnecessary

dreth See treth

drîvya drive

drog evil

drog predicative adj bad, evil

drog-(2) pref bad, evil

drog dens toothache

drog pedn headache

drog-aqwytya be ungrateful

drog-gerya slander, speak ill of

droglam m droglabmow (unfortunate) accident

drogober m drogoberow crime

drolla m drollys tale, yarn

druth adj valuable (jewellery etc)

dry bring

dry [arta] dhe’n cov phr remind

du adj black

dur steel

Dùrda dhe why! phr Good day!

Dùrdala dhe why! phr Thank you!

durya endure

dùryan east; sunrise

Duw genes / genowgh! phr Goodbye!

duwhan affliction

dy adv (to) there See also bys ty

dybarow adj separate

dybarth separate; depart

dyberthva distinction; (hospital) ward

dybos adj trivial

dydheur verb concern(s)

dydheurek See Lesson Fifteen

dydhemedhy divorce

dydhemedhyans divorce

dydo adj homeless

dydoll adj tax-free

dydro adj direct

dyfen forbid

dyffrans adj different

dyffrans difference

dyffres protect

dyfreth adj feeble

dyfygyans decline

dyghtya treat

dyghtyans treatment

dyghtyor kebmyn m dyghtyoryon gebmyn general manager

dygowsejeth dementia

dyharas apologize

dyheth See dieth

dyhow adj right (side)

dyhow right (side); south

dyj See dyjyn

dyjyn m dyjydnow dot

dylla emit; publish; fire (employee)

dyllas m dylajow clothes

dynar m denerow penny

dynyak adj attractive, tempting

dynyta dignity

dyowl m dewolow devil

dyrêwl adj out-of-control

dyscans learning; teaching

dyscans elvednek primary education

dyscans nessa secondary education

dyscans tressa tertiary education

dyscor m dyscoryon learner

dyscores f dyscoresow female learner

dyscowntya discount

dyscryjyk adj sceptical

dyscudha discover; disclose

dysert desert

dyskerghyans gravitation

dyskerheth gravity

dysplegya unfold; develop

dysqwedhes show

dysqwedhyans m dysqwedhyansow display, exhibition

dystemprys adj upset

dystowgh adv immediately

dystrôwy destroy

dyswil spoil

dyvers adj diverse, different

dyvers attributive adj preceding noun various

dyvlâm adj blameless, innocent

dyvotter famine

dyw2 num two (with feminine noun)

dywenynegy detox

dyweth end See also heb dyweth

dywros f dywrosow bicycle

dywros jyn f dywrosow motorcycle

dywros saya f dywrosow exercise bike

dywscoth du (pair of) shoulders

dywvregh du (pair of) arms

dywweyth adv twice

dywyêthek adj bilingual

dywysyk adj eager

dywysyor m dywysyoryon fan, supporter

E name of letter E

e See ev

interj yes

economyk economics

edhen m ÿdhyn bird

edrek regret

eev personal pron he, him, it (masculine) (emphatic)

Ef name of letter F

efan adj expansive, wide

efander space

effethus adj effective, efficient

egery open

eglos f eglosyow church

Eglos Melan Mullion

ehen f ehenow kind See also dres ehen

El name of letter L

el m eleth angel

element m elementys element

Em name of letter M

empîr empire

En name of letter N

en See in

ena adv there; then See also dres ena

enactya enact

encressya increase

enef f enevow soul

Englond England

enjoya enjoy

ensampyl m ensamplys example

entra enter

entrans m entransow entrance

envy envy; enemy

enys f enesow island

Er name of letter R

erba m erbys herb; garden vegetable

erber m erbers herb / kitchen garden

erbydn See warbydn

erbysy save (make savings)

erel See aral

ergh snow

erhy order; book

erna2 conj until

ernag See erna2

ernysh adj earnest

errour m errours error, mistake

ertach heritage

ervira decide, determine, conclude

eryta inherit

Es name of letter S

ês ease

ès prep than

ès dell2 conj than

esedha sit (down)

esedhva f esedhvaow sitting-room, lounge

esel m esely limb, member

Esel Seneth (ES) m Esely Member of Parliament

eseth f esedhow seat

eskys f eskyjyow shoe

essens m essencys essence

estêmya admire

estrenegy alienate

estyll col estyllen shelves

êsy adj easy

et See in

êtegves num eighteenth 

êtek num eighteen

eth num eight

êthves num eighth

eur f euryow time (specific) See also bys i’n eur-ma, bys i’n eur-na, i’n eur-ma, i’n eur-na

euryador m euryadoryon timetable

euth terror

euthwas m euthwesyon terrorist

ev pron he, him, it (masculine)

eva drink

evredhyon pl disabled people

evreth adj disabled

ew col ewen yew(s)

ewl craving

ewl boos appetite

ewn adj right, correct; fair (just)

êwna repair

êwnans m êwnansow repair

Ewny Redrudh Redruth

ewon col foam

ewon omwolhy col bubble bath

ewrô m ewrôeuro

Ex name of letter X

experyens experience

eyl See an eyl hy ben, an eyl y gela, an eyl … y gela

fakel briansen sore throat

fakel mellow arthritis

faladow See also heb faladow

fâls predicative adj false

fâls-(2) pref false

fâls-gwary foul (in football etc)

fâlsury treachery

fardellyk m fardelygow package

fâss m fâssow face

fast adj firm

fatell adv/conj how; that

fatla adv how

Fatla genes / genowgh? phr How are you?

fav coffy col faven coffee beans

fav pebys col baked beans

fay faith

fëdh faith

fedna overflow, flood

fekyl predicative adj insincere

fekyl-(2) pref insincere

fekyl-cher insincerity

felshyp friendship; staff

fenester f fenestry window

fenten f fentydnyow spring, fountain

fentenva f fentenvaow spa

fery parish feast

fest adv very, really

fest f festyow feast

feth m & f fêthyow fact

Fethys glân ov vy! phr I give up!

fia flee

fia dhe’n fo phr flee, run away

flapjack m flapjacks flapjack

flogh m flehes child

floghcovia babysit

floghwith childcare

flohyl adj childish

flour m flourys flower

flows nonsense

flû flu

fo flight (fleeing)

fol adj foolish

fol m felyon fool

folen f folednow page, sheet

fon m fônow phone

fordh f fordhow way; road

forgh f fergh (also ferhy) fork

formya form, make

fos f fosow wall

fôtô m fôtôs photo

fowt lack

fra See prag and praga

fra na2 See prag na2

fraga See prag and praga

fraga na2 See prag na2

fram frame

franchys freedom

frank adj free

Frank m Francas Frenchman

franklyn m franklyns freeholder

fresk adj fresh

freth adj eager, energetic

fria fry

frig m frigow nostril

frobmus adj nervous

frôsek adj fluent

frût m frûtys fruit

Frynkek adj French

Frynkek French (language)

fug-2 pref fake

fùgen Dhanek f fùgednow Danek Danish pastry

fug’hanow m fug’henwyn pseudonym

fugyon pl sham

fùndya found, establish

Fùndyans Benenes Women’s Institute

fur adj wise, sensible

furvlen f furvlednow form (document)

furvlen toll f furvlednow tax return

fusen f fusednow rocket

fyllel fail

fylm m fylmys film

fysky rush

fystena hurry

fysyk physics

fyt m fyttys match (sport)

fytty adj (very) suitable

fyttya fit

3 See aga3

gaja m gajys pledge See also Ow gaja dhe why

gallas See mos

gallos power, ability

gallos be able to

galon m galons gallon

galosek adj powerful

galow m galowow call; invitation

galwans m galwansow profession

galwansus adj professional

gàn See agan

’gan infixed pron us; to us

gans prep along with; by

gans rach phr carefully

garow adj rough

garr f garrow leg

gàs See agas

’gas infixed pron you (plural or stranger); to you (plural or stranger)

Gas cavow dhe wandra! phr Stop worrying!

gasa leave, let

gasa dhe godha phr drop

gass gas

Ge name of letter G

gedyans guidance

gela See an eyl y gela, an eyl … y gela

gelwel call; invite

gèn See gans

genesyk adj native

genys adj born

ger m geryow word

gerednow pl gobbledygook; banter

gerva f gervaow vocabulary

gerys dâ phr popular

ges joking

Gesowgh in cres! phr Do not disturb!

gest f gysty bitch

gis manner, style

glân adj clean

glân adv very, completely

glas adj See Book One Lesson 1

glavorya dribble, drool

glaw rain

glawlen f glawlednow umbrella

glëb adj wet

glebyor moisturizer

glin m glinyow knee

gloos f glosow pain

gloryùs adj glorious

glujek adj sticky

glus glue

glûth dew; condensation

gnas character

gober m gobrow wage, salary

gobonya trot; jog

gobra pay, remunerate

gocky adj silly, stupid

God spêda dhis! phr Good luck!

goderry interrupt (something)

Godhalek Irish (language)

godhvos know (facts); know how to

godorrva interruption

gogleth north

gohebyth m gohebydhyon reporter

goheles avoid

gol m gôlyow goal (football etc)

golegyth m golegydhyon editor

goles m golesow bottom, base

golf golf

golghva f golghvaow bathroom

golhy wash

golok look; scene

golow m golowys light

Golowan Midsummer

golsowes listen [to]

golsowyas m golsowysy listener

gôlya celebrate

gonesyas jorna m gonesyjy journeyman

gonysegeth culture

goodh f godhow goose

gool m golyow festival

gool demedhyans m golyow wedding reception

goos blood

gordhuwher adv/m [in the] evening

gorfedna finish

gorfen See heb gorfen

gorhemynadow See gormynadow

gorher m gorheryow cover, lid

gorlanwes surplus; luxury

gorlewen f west; sunset

gormel praise

gormola praise, compliment(s)

gormynadow commandment

gorra put; take (to a place)

gorras m gorrasow lift, ride (in a vehicle)

gorsaf m gorsavow station

gorsaf bùssow m gorsavow bus station

gorseth f gorsedhow gorsedh

gorsempelhe over-simplify

gortheby answer

gorthyp m gorthebow answer, reply

gortos wait (for)

gorvarhas f gorvarhajow supermarket

gorwel m horizon

goslowes See golsowes

gostyth adj obedient

gour m gwer husband

gourgath m gourgathas tom-cat

gov m govyon smith

govel f govelyow workshop, garage (for repairs)

govelya smithy

governans m governansow government

Govy! interj Oh no! Alas!

govyn enquiry; request

govyn ask, enquire, request

govynadow enquiries

gow m gowyow lying (falsehood) See also heb gow

gradhyans graduation

gramer grammar

grâss m grassow grace; thanks

Grâss e dhe Dhuw! Phr Thank God! Thank goodness!

grassa dhe2 phr thank

grassyans gratitude

gre rank, status

Grêk m Grêkys Greek (person)

greun olew col greunen olives

grêvùs adj grievous

gromercy interj thank you

growedha lie (down)

grug col heather

gu m guow woe

gul See gwil

gùlan f gùlanas gull

gùtrel furniture

gwadn adj weak; lax

gwadn-(2) pref weak; lax

gwadnrêwl mismanagement

gwag adj empty; blank; hungry

gwainya win

gwakhe empty

gwalgh glut

gwandra wander

gwara goods, merchandise

gwarak f gwaregow bow; arch

gwaregor m gwaregoryon bowman, archer

gwarior m gwarioryon player; actor

gwarnya warn

gwarnyans m gwarnyansow warning

gwary game; stage play

gwary play

gwary bord m gwariow board game

gwaryjy m gwaryjiow theatre

gwaryva f gwaryvaow stage (theatre)

gwas m gwesyon assistant; waiter; fellow, chap, guy

gwasca press

gwascas pressure

gwastas adj level, even

gwâv m gwavow winter

gwaya move

gwaynten spring (season)

gweder glass; mirror

gwederjy m gwederjiow greenhouse

gwëdh col gwedhen trees

gwedren f gwedrednow glass, tumbler

gwedrow howl pl sunglasses

gweff See gwyw

gwel m & f sight

gwel m gwelyow (open) field

gwel wàr an bÿs phr general attitude, outlook

gwelen f gwelyny stick

gweles see

gwelha adj best

gwelhe improve

gwelhevyn col aristocracy

gwell adj better See also dhe well

gwella improve

gwels col grass

gwely m gweliow bed

Gwengamp Gwengamp (French, Guingamp)

gwer adj green

gweres help

gwern f gwernow mast

gwerrya make war

gwerryans m gwerryansow war

gwertha sell

gwerthjy m gwerthjiow store, retail outlet

gweryn folk

gwerynor m gwerynoryon peasant

gwetha See gwitha

gwethyas m gwethysy keeper

gwethyn adj pliable

gwetyas expect

gwe’us f gwessyow lip

gweyth f gweythyow time, occasion

gweyth m gweythyow work (that is accomplished)

gweyth ser predn carpentry

gwia weave

gwias web; internet

gwiasva f gwiasvaow website

gwil make; do auxiliary forming future, preterite, future-in-the-past, conditional tenses

gwil devnyth a2 phr utilize, make use of

gwil ergh phr snow verb

gwil ges a2 phr make a fool of

gwil glaw phr rain verb

gwil gweres dhe2 phr help verb

gwil keser phr hail verb

gwil leun amendys phr make full amends

gwil mencyon a2 phr mention verb

gwil mêstry a2 phr master

gwil mêstry wàr2 phr dominate

gwin wine

gwir adj true

gwir truth; right See also in gwir

gwiryon adj honest

gwith protection; care

gwith lafyl custody

gwitha keep

gwlân col wool

gwlanek m gwlanegyon jumper

gwlas f gwlasow country (political)

gwlasegor m gwlasegoryon statesman, politician

gwreg f gwrageth wife

gwrës See gwil

gwrians action

gwrias sew

gwrioneth See in gwrioneth

gwrÿth actions, doing

gwybessa ‘go catching gnats’ = waste time

gwycor m gwycoryon trader

gwycores f gwycoresow female trader

gwydhyô m gwydhyôs video

gwydn adj white

gwydnrudh adj pink

gwyls adj wild

gwyns m gwynsow wind

gwynsak adj windy

gwysca put on (clothing); dress

gwythres m gwythresow activity

gwythresek adj active

gwyw adj suitable

gyllys See mos

Ha name of letter H

ha conj/prep and; with

haha conj both … and

ha na hens phr and not before, at the earliest

hag See ha

hager predicative adj ugly, nasty

hager-(2) pref ugly, nasty

hager-gowas torrential rain

hàm ham

hanaf m hanavow cup

handla handle

haneth adv tonight, this evening

hangya hang

hangya in nes phr depend on (contingency)

hanow m henwyn name

hanow tyller m henwyn tyleryow place-name (see Lesson Eight)

hanter m hanterow half

hanter-broder m hanter-breder half-brother

hanter-cans m/num fifty

hanter-dëdh midday

hanter-nos midnight

hanvos existence

hardh adj ‘able and bold’, competent, decisive

harlot m harlos scoundrel

harlych adv exactly

has col hasen seeds

hast haste

hâtya hate

hâv m havow summer

haval adj similar

havysy pl summer tourists

hawnsel breakfast

hay interj hey

heb prep without

heb danjer phr unreservedly

heb dhanjer See heb danjer

heb dhowt See heb dowt

heb dhyweth See heb dyweth

heb dowt phr without doubt, of course

heb dyweth phr endlessly

heb faladow phr without fail; without exception

heb gorfen phr endlessly

heb gow phr without doubt

heb let phr straightaway

heb mar phr certainly, of course

heb namoy phr only

heb worfen See heb gorfen

heb wow See heb gow

heb y dylly phr without deserving it

hebaskhe calm down

heblythter flexibility

hebma pron this [one] (masculine)

hedhes range

hedhes reach

hedhy stop, cease intransitive

hedhyw adv today

hedna pron that [one] (masculine)

hedre conj so long as

hel adj generous, hospitable

hel m & f helow hall

helavarder eloquence

Hellës Helston

hèm See hebma

hèn See hedna

henath (succeeding) generation

hendrajy m hendrajiow museum

hens horn m hensy railway

herwyth prep according to See also in herwyth

hës length

heudh adj gleeful, merry

heudh joy, glee

hevelep resemblance

hevelly seem; liken, compare

hevleny adv this year

hewelder visibility

heweres adj helpful

hir adj long; tall (of people)

hirder length

hireth longing

hobba m hobbys hobby, pastime

hobma this [one] (feminine)

hocky hockey

hodna that [one] (feminine)

hogh m hohas hog

holan salt

holergh adj late

holya follow

holyans succession

holyor m holyoryon follower

hòm See hobma

hòn See hodna

honen self

honensys identity

hora f horys whore

hot m hottys hat

hothfy bubble

howl sun, sunshine

howldrevel sunrise See also an Howldrevel

howlek adj sunny

howlsedhas sunset See also an Howlsedhas

hudhyk adj merry

hûjes adj huge

hùmbrank lead

hùmbrynkyas m hùmbrynkysy leader, head (of department etc)

hunros m hunrosow dream

hùrâ interj hurray

hus magic

hy personal pron she, it (feminine)

hy3 possessive pron her; her, it (feminine) (direct object of verb-noun)

hyhy personal pron she, it (feminine) (emphatic)

I name of letter I

iffarn m iffarnow hell

ilow music

in prep in; into

i’n eur-ma phr now

i’n eur-na phr then

i’n gwelha prës phr fortunately

i’n gwetha prës phr unfortunately

i’n kettermyn phr at the same time

i’n tor’-ma phr now

i’n tor’-na phr then

in bàn phr up

in cres prep in the middle of

in dadn2 prep under

in dadn gel phr secretly

in despît dhe2 prep in spite of

in despît wàr2 See in despît dhe2

in gwir phr indeed

in gwrioneth phr really, actually

in gwiryoneth See in gwrioneth

in herwyth prep + possessive pron around (only used of clothing, companions)

in kerdh phr away (motion)

in kerhyn prep + possessive pron all around

in ketelma phr in the same way

in kever prep in respect of, in relation to

in le prep instead of

in le a2 prep + verb-noun, demonstrative pronoun instead of

in mes phr out

in mes a2 prep out of

in mesk prep among

in neb le phr somewhere

in nes phr near(er)

in nes prep + noun near

in pan vaner phr in what way

in pùb le phr everywhere

in rag phr forwards

in udn2 phr + verb-noun makes descriptive adverbial phrase

in udn rew phr in a row

inclûdya include

indelha adv like that

indelma adv like this

informatyk ICT

inherytans inheritance

inia urge

injynor m injynoryon engineer

injynores f injynoresow female engineer

injynorieth engineering

ink ink

inspîrya inspire

inter prep between; among

intra See inter

inwedh adv also

iredy adv indeed

is-1 prefix sub-, subordinate, deputy, etc

is-caderyor m is-caderyoryon vice-chair[person]

is-caderyores f is-caderyoresow vice-chairwoman

iscarg m iscargow download

isel adj low

iselbris adj cheap

iskel stock, broth

ispoynt m ispoyntys minimum

is-starneth infrastructure

istorek adj historical

istory history

istyna extend; hand (something to someone)

Italek Italian (language)

Italy Italy

Italyan adj/m Italyans Italian

Japanek adj Japanese

jazz jazz

Je name of letter J

jel gel

jel cowas shower gel

jeneral adj general

jeneral m jenerals general

jerkyn m jerkyns jacket

jorna m jornys day

jornal m jornals magazine

Jovyn Jove

joy joy

joya See enjoya

jùj m jùjys judge

jùjya judge

jùnya join

jy pron you singular (subject or with inflected preposition)

jyn m jynys engine; machine

jyn dywros See dywros jyn

jynek adj automated

jynjyber ginger

Ke name of letter K

ke m keow fence; hedge

ke lesta m keow barrier

kebmyn adj common

kebmys a / dell woraf phr as far as I know

kedhow mustard

kedrydn row, (violent) quarrel

kefrës adv too (also)

kefrës ha prep as well as, in addition to

kefrësha conj both … and

kegy cook

kegyn f kegynow kitchen

kegynieth cooking, cuisine

kegynores f kegynoresow female cook

kehaval adj similar

kekefrës = kefrës (emphatic)

kel See in dadn gel

kelly lose; miss

kelmy tie

Keltek adj Celtic

kelus adj secretive

Kembra Wales

Kembrek Welsh (language)

kemeneth f kemenethow community

kemeres take

kemeres marth phr be astonished

kempen adj tidy

kempensys tidiness

kemyk chemistry

kemynro m kemynroyow legacy

kemysky mix

ken adj other

ken adv otherwise

ken m cause; lawsuit

kenderow m kenderewy male cousin

kendonor m kendonoryon borrower (of money), debtor

kenedhel f kenedhlow specific generation; nation

kenertha boost, encourage

kensa num first

kensêwha a.m.

kentervys adj hectic

kentrevak m kentrevogyon neighbour

kentrydna stimulate

kenyn col kenynen leeks

kenyn ewynak col garlic

kenytherow f kenytherewy female cousin

kenyver onen pron every one

kepar adj of that / the same sort

kepar dell2 conj just as / like

ker adj dear, expensive

kerdh See in kerdh

kerdhes walk

kerdhes in aray phr march verb

kerdhes in mes gans phr see, date, go out with

kerdhfôn m kerdhfônow mobile phone

kerensa love

Keresk Exeter

kereth f penalty (disciplinary action)

kerhes fetch

kerhyn See in kerhyn

Kernow m Kernowyon Cornishman

Kernow Cornwall

Kernowegor m Kernowegoryon Cornish speaker

Kernowegy Cornish

Kernowek Cornish (language)

Kernowes f Kernowesow Cornishwoman

kert hir m kertys lorry

kervyans carving; carvery

Kerwrangon Worcester

keschaunj exchange

keschaunjya exchange, swap

kescows conversation

kescôwsel have a conversation

kescùssulyans conference

keser col keseren hail

kesgwlasek adj international

keslînek adj parallel

keslowena congratulations

kesobery co-operate

kesperhen m kesperhednyon co-owner

kesplethys See bos kesplethys in

kespos balance

kesposa balance

kessedhegor m kessedhegoryon committee member

kessedhek m kessedhegyon committee

kesstrîf m kesstrîfow competition

kestaf m kestavow contact

kestalkya have a chat

kesudnyans lavur trade union

keswel m & f keswelyow interview

ketelma See in ketelma

keth adj See an keth

keth m kethyon slave

kethsam See an kethsam

kettel2 conj as soon as

kettep attributive adj preceding noun each, every

kettep gwas phr each one, everyone

kettep mab brodn phr everyone (emphatic)

kettep onen phr each one, everyone

kettep pedn phr each one, everyone

kettep tabm phr each / every bit

kettermyn See i’n kettermyn

kettesten f kettestednow context

keur m keuryow choir

keus cheese

keus lefans toadstools

keus Parma Parmesan [cheese]

kevadran f kevadradnow faculty (at university)

kevambos m kevambosow contract

kevarhewy invest

kevarhow pl investment(s)

kevarwedhor m kevarwedhoryon director

kevarwedhyans direction(s), instruction(s)

kever See in kever

keveryans orientation

kevothak adj powerful, rich

kevradna share

kevran f kevradnow share

kevren f kevrenyon link

kevres m & f kevresow series

kevrîn m kevrînyow secret

kewar weather

kewargh col hemp

kewerder accuracy, precision

keworra add

keyfordh f keyfordhow tunnel

keyn m keynow back

kig flesh; meat

kig yar chicken (meat)

kildro f kildroyow recession

Kilgoodh Ust Cape Cornwall

kîlogram m kîlogramow kilo[gram]

kîlomêter m kîlomêtrow kilometre

kilva f kilvaow background

knack adv right, just

knack obma phr right here

knava m knavys rascal

knoukya knock (multiple blows)

know col knofen nuts

Kresen (= Cresen) Kernow is an historical / cultural institution in Redruth

ky m keun dog

kydnyaf autumn

kydnyow m kynyewyow dinner

kyfeth preserve (jam or marmalade)

kyffewy col party

kyn conj though, although

kyn See kyns [ès]

kyn na2 conj though / although … not

kyn nag See kyn na2

kyn pedn prep by the end of, within (a period of time)

kynda See dres kynda

kyns adv previously; former (adjectivally)

kyns ages See kyns [ès]

kyns [ès] prep before

kyns napell phr before long, soon

kyns oll phr first [of all]; most importantly, above all

kyns pedn See kyn pedn

kynth See kyn conj

kyst f kystyow box

kyttryn m kyttrynyow bus

lacka adj worse

lader m ladron thief

lagas m lagasow eye

laghyades f laghyadesow female lawyer

laghyas m lahysy lawyer

laha m lahys law

Lanstefan Launceston

Lanuon Lannuon (French, Lannion)

Lanust St Just

Lanwedhenek Padstow

larch See larj

larj adj generous

Latyn Latin

launchya launch

lavar m lavarow utterance; sentence

lavar coth m lavarow old saying

lavar coth comparya m lavarow traditional simile

lavrak m lavregow (pair of) trousers

lavrak cot m lavregow (pair of) shorts

lavurya labour, toil

lawl See leverel

le m leow place See also in le, in le a2, in neb le, in pùb le

le quant less; fewer See also dhe le

le’ma5 See may5

le may5 See may5

leba5 See may5

lebma5 See may5

lebmel jump

lebmyn adv now

ledan adj broad, wide

leder f ledrow slope; bias

ledn f lednow blanket

lêdya lead

lêdyor m lêdyoryon leader

leegy locate

leek adj local

leg adj lay

lehe reduce

lel adj loyal

lelder loyalty

lemen prep except [for]

lemyga sip

lendya lend

lent adj slow

lenwel fill

lergh See warlergh

les breadth, width

les m interest

les’hanow m les’henwyn nickname

lesky burn

lesson m lessons lesson

lesson tre m lessons homework

lesta hinder

Lester Noy Noah’s Ark

lestry pl dishes

let See heb let

leth milk

leth shakys milkshake

lether m leather

lettya prevent

leun adj full

leun-(2) pref full

leun crindythyow phr cliché-ridden

leunstroth m leunstrothow lockdown

leur m leuryow floor

leurneth area (measurement)

leuv hand

lev m levow voice

level m levelyow level

leven adj smooth

levender smoothness, consistency

leverel say

leveryans pronunciation

lewyas steer; drive

lewyor m lewyoryon driver

lewyores f lewyoresow female driver

lewyth m lewydhyon governor (school)

lien literature

lien codna m lienyow scarf

lies quant many

lies gweyth phr many times

lies huny phr many people

lies torn phr often

lin flax

lînen f lînednow line; string (of bow, puppet)

lîter m lîtrow litre

lo f loyow spoon

loas m loasow spoonful

loder m lodrow stocking

lomen mush

longya belong

lonk gullet

lordya domineer

losk pengasen heartburn

losow col losowen vegetables

lost m lostow tail; queue

losten f lostednow skirt

Loundres London

lovan f lovonow rope

lowarth m lowarthow garden

lowen adj happy

Lowena dhis / dhywgh! phr Hello! Hi!

lower quant quite a few

lowr adv enough; quite

lowr a2 quant lots of

lows adj loose; relaxed

lu m luyow host, army

lùck dâ (good) luck

lugarn m lugern lamp

lus col lusen bilberries, blueberries

lus rudh col lusen cranberries

lusow col ash(es)

ly f lîvyow lunch

lybm adj sharp

lycklod See dre lycklod

lyckly adj likely, probable

lydn f lydnow lake

lydn liquid

lydn golhy lestry washing up liquid

lyfror m lyfroryon librarian

lyftya lift

lyha adv least See also dhe’n lyha

lyhariv m lyharîvyow minority

Lÿs Kernow New County Hall

lyther m lytherow letter

lyther kemyn m lytherow will

lyver m lyfryow book

lyver termyn m lyfryow magazine

lyverjy m lyverjiow library; bookshop

lyverva f lyvervaow library; bookcase

lyvryk m lyvrygow booklet

lyw m lywyow colour

’m infixed pron me; to me

’m See ow3

-ma part this (with definite article)

ma na2 conj where not; when not; so that not

ma nag See ma na2

ma vy personal pron I, me (emphatic)

mab m mebyon son

mab den mankind

mabm f mabmow mother

maga nurture

maga5 adv so, as

magata adv as well

maghteth f meghtythyon maiden

maglys See bos maglys gans

mail mail (armour)

mailya wrap

main m mainys medium, means See also dre vain, dre vain a2

mainys socyal pl social media

màn adv at all (with negative)

màn num zero

Manahek Meneage

maner f manerow manner, way See also in pan vaner

manerow pl manners, habits

maneuryow pl small hours

manylyon pl details, data

mappa m mappys map

mar2 adv so, as

mar4 conj if See also heb mar

mar mydnowgh phr if you like

mar mynta phr if you like

mar pleg phr please

mar plêk See mar pleg

mara4 See mar4

maras See mar4

marathon m marathons marathon

margh m mergh horse

margh horn m mergh bike

marhas f marhajow market See also a varhas dhâ

marhogeth ride

marnas prep except [for]

manovra manoeuvre

marow adj dead

mars See mar4

martesen adv maybe, perhaps

marth m marthow wonder

marthys adj amazing, wonderful

martyr m martyrs martyr

ma’s See marnas

mâta m mâtys mate

mater m maters matter

mavy personal pron me (emphatic)

maw m mebyon boy, lad

may5 conj where; when; so that

mayth See may5

me personal pron I

me a’th pës phr please

mebyl col furniture

mebyon gwydn pl grandsons; grandchildren

medheges f medhegesow female doctor (medical)

medhegneth medication

medhegva f medhegvaow infirmary; GP’s surgery

medhek m medhygyon doctor (medical)

medhel adj soft

medhes say

medhow adj drunk, intoxicated

megy smoke; stifle

mel honey

melen adj yellow

mellya interfere

mellyans interference

melynor m melynoryon miller

men adj vigorous See also yn fen

men m meyn stone

mena See meneth

mencyon See gwil mencyon a2

menestrouthy (small) orchestra, band

meneth m menydhyow mountain

Meneth Myhâl Mont Saint-Michel

menowgh adj frequent

mentêna maintain, keep

Mentênour Conservative, Tory

mentênya See mentêna

mêny m mênys family (as a household)

menystra administer, manage

menystrans administration

meras See miras

merkyl m merclys miracle

mernans death

merwel die

mery adj merry

mery snivel

mes See in mes

mès conj but

mès prep See marnas

mes See dhe ves, in mes, in mes a2

mes a2 See in mes a2

mesk See in mesk

messach m messajys message

mêster m mêstrysy master, boss

Mêster title Mr

Mêstres title Mrs, Ms, Ma’m

Mêstresyk title Miss

mêstry See gwil mêstry a2, gwil mêstry wàr2

mêter m mêtrow metre (length)

meth shame

methek adj embarrassing

metya meet

metyans m metyansow meeting

meur adj great

meur adv much, a lot

meur [a]2 quant much, a lot of

meur y bris phr important

meur y valew phr valuable

meurgerys adj much loved

mewghya sponsor

mil2 f/num a/one thousand

mildir f mildiryow mile

milvil num a/one million

min m minyon lip(s)

minwharth m minwharthow smile

minwherthyn smile

miras look

mis m mîsyow month

mis Du adv/m [in] November

mis Ebrel adv/m [in] April

mis Efen adv/m [in] June

mis Est adv/m [in] August

mis Genver adv/m [in] January

mis Gorefen adv/m [in] July

mis Gortheren adv/m [in] July

mis Gwydngala adv/m [in] September

mis Hedra adv/m [in] October

mis Kevardhu adv/m [in] December

mis Mê adv/m [in] May

mis Merth adv/m [in] March

mis Metheven adv/m [in] June

mis Whevrel adv/m [in] February

mockya mock

modern adj modern

modryp f modrebeth aunt

mog smoke

mona money

mones See mos

montolly weigh

montollys adj weighed; balanced, even

mor m morow sea

mora go berry picking

mora put to sea

moral adj moral

mordardha See mordardhya

mordardhya surf

mortal adj mortal; lethal

mos go

mos wàr stray phr get lost

mothow pl breakdown, failure; disaster

môvya move

mowes f mowesow girl

moy quant more See also dhe voy

moyha adv most

moyha kerys phr favourite

moyhariv m moyharîvyow majority

mûn mineral

mûndalas royalties

munys adj tiny

mùrder murder

muscok adj mad

musur m musurow measure

mûsyk music

my See me

mycroscobmyn m mycroscobmow microchip

mydnas wish to (only in fixed phrases); auxiliary forming future, future-in-the-past, conditional tenses

mylyon m mylyons million

mynoryta m mynorytas minority

myns size, quantity

myns a2 phr everything that

myns a woraf See kebmys a / dell woraf

mynysen f mynysow minute

myrgh f myrhas daughter

myssyon m myssyons mission

mytern m myterneth king

myttyn adv/m [in the] morning

’n infixed pron him, it (masculine reference); to him, to it (masculine reference)

na conj nor

na2 conj that … not

na2 part expresses certain negatives

na2 pron who / which … not (introducing adjectival clause)

na3 See na felha, na fors, na hen, na whath

interj no

-na part that (with definite article)

nana conj neither … nor

Na borth awhêr! phr Don’t worry!

na dâ na drog phr so-so

na felha phr any farther / further, any longer (in negative sentence); no farther / further, no longer (when negative implied)

na fors phr no matter

na hen adv otherwise (in negative sentence)

Na vëdh anês! phr Don’t worry!

na whath phr yet (in negative sentence); not yet (when negative implied)

nacyon m nacyons nation

Nadelyk Christmas

nag See na and na2

naha deny; refuse

namenowgh adv often (in negative sentence); not often (when negative implied)

nameur quant much (in negative sentence); not much (when negative implied)

namna2 part almost

namnag See namna2

namnygen adv just now, a moment ago

namoy adv any more, anymore (in negative sentence); no more (when negative implied) See also heb namoy

nampëth See neppëth

naneyl adv either (in a negative sentence)

naneylna conj neither … nor

nans part by now

Nans Agolen Nancegollan

napell adv a long time, a long while (in negative sentence) See also kyns napell (where negative is implied)

natur m & f nature

natureth m & f natural feeling, human nature

naw num nine

nawnjegves num nineteenth

nawnjek num nineteen

nawves num ninth

neb adj some, any

neb pron someone, anyone

neb tra pron something, anything

nebes quant a little; a few

nebonen pron someone, anyone

nefra adv ever present / future reference See also bys nefra

negedhek adj negative

negys m negycyow business

nen m nenow ceiling

nena See i’n eur-na

neppëth pron something, anything

nepprës adv sometime

nerth m nerthow power, energy

nerthek adj powerful

nes adj nearer See also in nes

nes adv at all (with negative)

nessa adj nearest; next; second (in a series)

nessa tro phr next time

neujedna stitch

new f newyow sink

new toos f newyow kneading trough

newton m newtonow newton

neyja swim; fly

neyth m neythow nest

neythy nest, nestle

neythys adj embedded

nôcyon m nôcyons notion

Nor’vy See godhvos

Normandy Normandy

Norvÿs See an Norvÿs

nos f nosow night

nos dâ phr good night

nos jùnya m nosow hyphen

nosweyth adv in the night

nosweyth f noswethyow eve(ning)

nosweyth dauns f nosweythyow (evening) dance, ball

nosweyth ilow f nosweythyow (evening) concert

nôten f nôtednow note, memo

nôtya note; announce

novel m novellys novel

novelyth m novelydhyon novelist

now interj now

nowodhow pl news

nowyth adj new

nùmber m nùmbers number

ny2 part expresses negative statements

ny personal pron we, us

Ny’m deur phr It’s nothing to do with me

Ny vern! phr Never mind! It doesn’t matter!

nyns See ny2

nyny personal pron we, us (emphatic)

nyver m nyverow number

O name of letter O

ober m oberow task, job

obma adv here See also bys obma

odour m odours odour, smell

ogas adj/adv near; almost

ogas dhe2 prep near to

ogas ha prep almost (with nouns, pronouns and numerals)

ogas hag See ogas ha

ogasty adv almost

ogh interj oh (emotion)

olas m & f hearth

olew olive oil

oll adj all

oll an gwelha phr best regards

ollkebmyn adj universal, general

ombarusy prepare oneself

omborth reydhek gender balance

ombredery consider, reflect upon

ombrevy prove (to be)

ombrofya apply (for a job etc)

omdava contact (one another)

omdedna retire

omdhesedha adapt (oneself)

omdhesky teach oneself

omdhon behaviour

omdhon behave

omdhyscor m omdhyscoryon self-study learner

omdôwlel wrestle, struggle

omdrockya bathe, soak (oneself)

omfydhyans confidence

omgelmy get involved; log in

omgemeres v take responsibility (for some undertaking)

omglôwes v + adjective feel (that one is in a particular state)

omhowla sunbathe

omladha kill oneself

omlath combat

omlath fight (one another)

omry surrender (oneself)

omryddya a2 phr get rid of

omsensy feel (emotionally, mentally)

omsettya attack intransitive

omvetya meet up

omwil pretend to be

omwolhy wash (oneself)

omwysca get dressed

ôn m ên lamb

onen num/pron one

onester decency

only adv only

onora honour

onyon col onyonen onion(s)

oos m osow age

optycyan m optycyans optician

opynyon m opynyons opinion

organek adj organic

orkestra m orkestras (large) orchestra

ort See orth

orth prep up against; @ (in web address)

ost m ôstys host

ostel f ostelyow hotel

ôstya stay (as a guest)

ôstyas m ôstysy guest

ot See otta

ot obma phr here is / are (pointing)

otham m othobmow need See also dres otham

otta interj there is, there are (pointing)

our m ourys hour

outray outrage, atrocity

overweles supervise

ow3 possessive pron my; me (direct object of verb-noun)

ow4 part makes so called ‘present participle’

Ow gaja dhe why phr I’m willing to bet

own fear

ôwnter m ôwntras uncle

owraval m owravallow orange

owrek adj golden

owrlyn silk

owth See ow4

oxygen oxygen

oyl oil

2 See pàn2

packet m packettys packet

pad m paddys pad

padel f padellow pan

padn m padnow cloth, (woven) fabric

pain m painys pain

pal f palyow spade

pan adj what

pàn2 conj when

pan fordh pynag a2 conj however, in whatever way

pan lies quant how many

pan lies pynag quant however many

pan lower torn phr how often

pan termyn [a]2 phr when

pan vaner adj what kind of See also in pan vaner

pana2 adj what

pana dermyn [a]2 phr when

pana lies quant how many

pandrapron what

panes col panen parsnip

paper m paperyow paper

par See a’n par-ma and a’n par-na

par dell2 See kepar dell2

par ha See kepar ha

pàr hap phr perhaps

parcel m & f portion, group

park m parcow enclosed field

park kerry m parcow car park

park poblek m parcow park

parkya park

parra m parrys team

part m partys part

parth f parthow side

parusy prepare; cook

parys adj ready

paryster readiness

passya pass

pasta pasta

pasty m pastys pasty

patâta m patâtys potato

patron m patronyow pattern

Pe name of letter P


peb See pùb pron

pebor m peboryon baker

pecar See kepar

pecar der2 See kepar dell2

pecar dr’ See kepar dell2

pecara See kepar ha

peder num four (with feminine noun)

pedn m pednow head; end

pedn bloodh anniversary; birthday

pedn êhel m pednow pole (of planet)

pedn pyst fool

pel f pelyow ball

pel droos football

pel gowel basketball

pel neyjys volleyball

pel roos netball

peldrosyor m peldrosyoryon footballer

pelednyk f pelenygow pill

pell adj far; long (time)

pellder distance

pellgôwsel speak by telephone

pellwolok television

pêmons socyal pl benefits (social security)

pêmont m pêmons payment

pendescadores f pendescadoresow female head teacher

pendom adj extreme (in attitude)

pendra f pendrevow village

peneglos f peneglosyow cathedral

penfenten m penfentydnyow source; spring (water)

pens m pensow pound

penscol f penscolyow university

penvenyster m penvenysters prime minister

Penzans Penzance

per col peren pears

perfeth adj perfect

performans m performansow performance

performya perform

perhedna own

perhednes f perhednesow female owner

perna See prena

person m persons person

personek adj personal

perswâdya persuade, convince

persyl Cathay col coriander

perthy awhêr phr worry verb

perthy cov phr remember

perthyans patience

perthynas m perthynasow relationship

perthynecter relativity

peryl m perylyow peril, danger

peryllys adj dangerous

pes quant how many

pës dâ gans phr pleased with

peskytter may5 conj as soon as

pesqweyth adv how often

pesqweyth y5 conj whenever

peswar num four

peswarden quartet

peswardhegves num fourteenth

peswardhek num fourteen

peswora num fourth

pesy pray; request

pêsya continue

pëth pron what See also an pëth

petrol petrol

peur5 adv when

pib f pîbow pipe

pîbel f pîbellow pipe

pil m pîlyow battery

pînaval m pînavallow pineapple

pla m plaow plague

plain adj plain, clear

planet m planettys planet

plâss m plâcyow place

plastyk plastic

plat adj flat

plât m plâtyow plate

ple5 adv where

plêdya plead, argue

plegadow wish, inclination

plegya bend

plegya please

plêkya See plegya ‘please’

plenta quant plenty (of)

plesont adj pleasant

plêsya please

pleth See ple5

plit situation

plobm lead (metal)

plos adj dirty

pluv col pluven feathers

pluvak f pluvogow cushion

pluven f pluvednow pen

pluven blobm f pluvednow plobm pencil

Plymoth Plymouth

conj or

(bò)… (bò) conj either … or

pob See pùb pron

pobas bake

pobel people

poblans population

poblegy publicize

poblek adj public

pocket m pockettys pocket

podcast m podcastys podcast

poken conj or else

poll m pollow pool

poll neyja m pollow swimming pool

pollat m polatys fellow

pollgor m pollgorow committee

pols moment (very short duration, not point in time)

polycy m polycys policy

polyshya polish

polytygieth politics

polytygor m polytygoryon politician

polytyk adj political

pons m ponsow bridge

ponsfordh f ponsfordhow viaduct

ponya run

poos adj heavy

poos m posow weight

pop-ÿs col popcorn

popty m poptiow bakery

pòr2 adv very

poran adv exactly

porcyon m porcyons portion

porhel m porhelly pig

porpos purpose, intention, plan

porposya intend

porrês intensifies res ‘necessity’

porth m porthow harbour; cove

Porth Ia St Ives

Porth Towan Porthtowan

Por’treth Portreath

pory v browse

posa worth phr lean against

possybyl adj possible

possybylta m possybyltas possibility

poster heaviness

posyjyon depression, despair

pot m pottow pot

pôt m pôtow kick

pôtya kick

pow m powyow country

Pow an Sowson phr England

Pow Densher Devon

Pow Rësohen Oxfordshire

powes rest, pause

powes rest pows f powsyow dress, frock

poynt m poyntys point

poyntya appoint; allocate, assign

poyntyans m poyntyansow appointment, fixture

practycya practise

practys m practycyow practice; exercise

prag adv why

praga See prag

prag na2 phr why not, why … not

praisya praise

Pras Praze

precyùs adj precious

predery think

predn wood

prena buy

prenas m prenasow purchase

prenassa go shopping

prës m prejyow time See also i’n gwelha prës, i’n gwetha prës

prës ly See ly

present attributive adj present See also an present termyn

presentya present

presentyans presentation

prest adv all the time

prestyor m prestyoryon lender (of money)

pretendya claim

prevy try (test)

prias m & f priosow spouse

pris m prîsyow prize; price See also a bris

problem m problemow problem

professour m professours professor

profus m profujy prophet

profya offer

profyans m profyansow offer

profyt profit

project m projectow project

promys m promyssyow promise

promyssya promise

provia provide

provôkya provoke

prow advantage

prownter m prontyryon priest

prowt adj proud

prydydhieth poetry

prydyth m prydydhyon poet

prÿjweyth moment, instant

pryntya print

pryntyor m pryntyoryon printer

prysonya imprison

pryva adj private

pùb adj every

pùb pron everyone

pùb eur oll phr always

pùb huny pron everyone

pùb termyn adv always

puber pepper

pùbonen pron everyone

pùpprës adv always

pùppynag may5 conj wherever

pùptra pron everything

pur adj pure

py adj which, what

py5 adv where

py conj or

py eur5 adv what time, when

py hanow phr who (asking someone’s name)

py le5 adv where

py lies quant how many

py plâss adv where

py seul quant how much; how many

py tyller adv where

pyctour m pyctours picture

pyctùresk adj picturesque

pydn See warbydn

pygebmys quant how much; how many

pygebmys pynag quant however much; however many

pyle See py le

pymp num five

pympes num fifth

pymthegves num fifteenth

pymthek num fifteen

pynag pron whatever; whoever

pynag oll(2) adj whatever

pyneyl pron which one (of two)

pyneyl a2pò [a2] conj whether … or

pyneyl a2pò na conj whether … or not

pyneyl pynag pron whichever (of two)

pynta m pyntys pint (of)

pypynag [oll] adj whichever, whatever

pypynag oll may5 conj wherever

pysk m pùscas fish

pyskessa go fishing

pyssîn fishpond; swimming pool

pyth adv where

pytsa m pytsas pizza

pyw pron who

pyw a’n (or an) jowl phr whoever (emphatic question)

pyw pynag pron whoever

pywa See pyw

Pywdô Cluedo®

qwalyta quality

qwantùm m qwanta quantum

qwartron m qwartronys direction; part of town

qwestyon m qwestyons question

qweth f qwethow piece of fabric, garment

Qwo name of letter Q

qwylkyn m qwylkydnow frog

qwyttya quit, leave

qwyz m qwyzys quiz

radn f radnow part

radna divide; share

radyô m radyôs radio

rag conj for

rag prep for; in order to; because of; from (barrier sense)

rag See in rag

rag dowt prep + infinitive construction in case

rag dowt na2 conj + subjunctive in case … not

rag fra See prag and praga

rag fra na2 See prag na2

rag fraga See prag and praga

rag fraga na2 See prag na2

rag hebma phr therefore, this is why

rag hedna phr therefore, that’s why

rag may5 conj + subjunctive in order that, so that

rag na2 conj + indicative because … not

rag na2 conj + subjunctive in order that … not, so that … not

rag tro phr temporary, provisional

raglavar m raglavarow foreword

ragpren subscription

ragvreus f ragvreusow prejudice

ragwel See an ragwel wàr an awel

ranjy m ranjiow flat, apartment

ras m rasow favour

re adv too; too much, too many

re pron ones

re2 part completive particle used with preterite tense; also functions as relative pronoun

re2 prep by (in exclamations)

re bo govenek phr I hope so, let’s hope so

re nebes phr too little

real adj real

realeth reality

realystek adj realistic

recêva receive

recêvya See recêva

receyt m receytys recipe

reckna reckon

recordya record

Redrudh See Ewny Redrudh

redya read

redyores f redyoresow female reader

relyjyon religion

remainya remain, stay

remembra remember

remnant m remnans

remuvya remove

ren See re2 prep

representya represent

rës adj See ry

res necessity

res part See re part

res verb must

Rësohen Oxford

rêson See dre rêson, dre rêson a2

rêsonus adj reasonable

restorya restore

restry arrange (tidily)

restrydna file

restryn m restrydnow file

restrys adj listed (investments)

revolûcyon m revolûcyons revolution

revrons respect

rew ice

rew See in udn rew

rêwlya control

rêwlys adj regular

Ria reva! interj Gosh! Wow!

rial adj royal

rîvbost email

ro m royow gift

rol f rolyow roll; list

rol prîsyow f rolyow price list

rolya roll

rom m rômys room

rom desky m rômys classroom

rom kydnyow m rômys dining-room

rom studhya m rômys study

Roman adj Roman

roos f rosow net

roosweyth m roosweythow network

ros col rosen roses

rôstyans roast(ing)

roweth importance, prestige

rowtor m rowtors manager (football)

rudh adj red

rûth f rûthow crowd

ry give

ryb prep beside

rych adj rich

rychys wealth, richness

ryver m ryvers river

’s infixed pron her, it (feminine reference); to her (feminine reference); them; to them

sacra dedicate

sad adj serious

sagh m seghyer bag

sagh keyn m seghyer knapsack

salad m saladys salad

salow adj safe and sound

salujy greet

sampyl m samplys sample

sans adj holy

sansyl adj pious

sant m sandys course, dish

sant melys m sandys dessert

sarchya search (for)

sarf f syrf snake

sauna m saunas sauna

sav See a’y sav

savla m savleow position; (bus) stop

saw adj intact, safe

saw conj but

saw prep save [for]

sawor m saworyow fragrance; flavour

saworek adj fragrant

sawya conserve; recover (after illness)

scaldya scald

scant adv barely, hardly, scarcely

scappya get away, escape

scarf m scarfys joint (carpentry)

scath f scathow boat

scattya smash

scav adj light (weight)

scavel [cronak] f scavellow mushroom

scavel serth f scavellow bar stool

sciens m sciencys science

sciensek adj scientific

scodhya support

scodhya wàr2 phr depend on (reliance)

scol f scolyow school

scol elvednek f scolyow primary school

scol nessa f scolyow secondary school

scolheyk m scolheygyon scholar

scolor m scoloryon (school) pupil; scholar

scon adv soon See also yn scon

sconya refuse

scoodh f scodhow shoulder

scorya score

scot bill

Scotland Scotland

scovarn f scovornow ear

screfa See scrifa

screw m screwys screw

scrif m scrîvyow document

scrifa write

scryp m scryppys bag, case

scryp only phr hand baggage only

scryvynyades f scryvynyadesow female secretary

scryvynyas m scryvynysy secretary

secùnd num second

sedha See esedha

sëgh adj dry

sehes thirst

sehyk m sehygow sachet

selsyk col selsygen sausage(s)

selvenek adj basic, fundamental

selwans salvation; save (by goalkeeper)

selwel save

sêlya seal

semblans simile

semlant appearance

sêmly adj handsome, pretty

sempel adj simple

sempelhe simplify

sempleth simplicity

Sèn Briek Saint-Brieg (French, Saint-Brieuc)

Sèn Jowan Awaylor St John the Evangelist

Sèn Malow Sant-Maloù (French, Saint-Malo)

seneth m senedhow parliament

sens m sencys sense

sens a ges sense of humour

sensy hold; consider

sensys dhe2 phr obliged to (grateful)

sentens m sentencys sentence (by court)

seny sound, play (music etc)

separâtya separate

ser m sery artisan

serjont m serjons sergeant

serry anger

serth adj steep

servya serve

servyour m servyours tray

servys m servicyow service

sêsnans dressing (for salad)

sêson m sêsons season

seth f sethow arrow

setha shoot

sethorieth archery

settya set

seul2 adv + comparative See Lesson Seven

seul m seulyow heel

seulyow hir pl high heels

seul a2 phr everyone who

sevel stand up; stand still, stop

sevel dhelergh phr stand back

sevel stag phr stop

sevel (w)orth phr refrain from

sevur adj severe

sewajya relieve

sewajyans relief

sewt stanch wetsuit

sewya follow

sewyans m sewyansow consequence, result

sewyor m sewyoryon successor

seytegves num seventeenth

seytek num seventeen

seyth num seven

seythen f seythednow week

seythves num seventh

shakya shake

shakyans shake, shaking

shampên champagne

shâp m shâpys shape

shînya shine

shoppa m shoppys shop

showr a2 quant loads of

showya show

shùgra sugar

shyndya harm

sin m sînys sign

sîra wydn m sîrys gwydn grandfather

skentyl adj intelligent; smart (device)

skeul blegya f skeulyow folding ladder

skeusen f skeusednow photograph

skians m skiansow knowledge

skit m skîtys squirt; jab (injection); diarrhoea

skîtyans injection; ejaculation

skydnya v descend, alight (from vehicle)

skyjyow sport pl trainers

skyl-2 pref rather

skyla reason

skylderrys adj slightly damaged

skyll col skyllen shoots

sley adj skilful

sleyneth skilfulness

slynk adj slippery

slynk slide

slynkya slip, slide

snobyn m snobydnow snob

so conj so

sodhak m sodhogyon officer, official

sodhva f sodhvaow office (place)

sogh adj blunt

solabrës adv already

solas solace; entertainment

solempna adj solemn

soler m soleryow gallery

sôlô adj/m sôlôs solo

son m sonow charm

son m sonyow sound

soodh f sodhow position (as officer or employee)

soper supper

soposya suppose, assume

sorr anger

sort m sortow sort, kind

soudor m soudoryon soldier

soweny prosper, succeed

soweth interj oh dear

sowndya sound out

Sows m Sowson Saxon; Englishman

sows cogh tomato ketchup

Sowsnek adj English

Sowsnek English (language)

sowthenys yn teg phr pleasantly surprised

sowyn adj prosperous, successful

sparus adj frugal

spâss m spâcys space; opportunity

Spaynek Spanish (language)

specyfyk adj specific

spêda success

spêdya succeed (at something specific)

spêna spend

spessly adv especially

speyss See a verr spÿs

spîcek adj spicy

spîcya spice

spît spite

splat m splattys plot of ground

spladn adj splendid

spladna shine

sport m sportys sport

sport dâ fun

spot a2 phr a spot of

spows m & f spouse

spyrys m spyryjyon spirit

spyrysegy encourage

spÿs See a verr spÿs

spyty m spytiow hospice

sqwardya tear

sqwattya See scattya

sqwith adj tired

sqwîthus adj tiresome, boring

stadyùm m stadya stadium

staga fix

stalla m stallys stall

stap m stappys step

stât m stâtys state

stâtarhow See An Stâtarhow

stâtly adj grand, magnificent

stay m stayes stay (rigging etc)

stella adv still

stenor m stenoryon miner

ster col steren stars

sterycks pl hysterics

stevel f stevelyow room

stockys pl stock(s)

stoff material

stoppyans constipation

story story

stowt adj stubborn

stranjer m stranjers stranger

strechya stretch out; delay; linger

strem m strêmys stream (all senses)

strêt m strêtys street

strêt arâg fore / high street

strethassay m strethassayes lateral flow test

strîvyans struggle, effort

strolla litter

stubma curve, bend; twist

studh m studhyow condition, state

studhva f studhvaow study (room)

studhya study

studhyans study, studies

studhyor m studhyoryon student

styfa squirt

styrya explain

sùbmen f sùbmednow sum, amount

sùbstans m sùbstancys substance

sùffra suffer

sùgan juice

sur adj sure

surhe ensure; insure

swàn m swàns swan

sy See jy

syger adj lazy

sygera laze, idle; ooze, trickle; smoulder; simmer

syght sight

syra sir

syrop m syropys syrup

ta jy personal pron you (emphatic)

tabm m tybmyn bit See also dhe dybmyn

tackya dêwla phr clap, applaud

taclenow pl things, effects

taclow pl things

talas m talasow payment, fee

talas dyscans m talasow tuition fee

talas farwèl m talasow severance payment

talas treusporth m talasow transfer fee

talent talent

talkya talk

tallyour m tallyours platter

talveja value, price

talvejans valuation

talvesek adj valuable

talvesor m talvesoryon valuer

talvesygeth value

talvos valence, valency

talvos value, price

tan m tanow fire

tàn imperative take

tanbellen f tanbelednow bomb; [bomb]shell

tanek y golon phr enthusiastic

tanow adj thin

tanowgh imperative take (plural or stranger)

tardha burst, explode

tarya linger

tas m tasow father

tastya taste

tatty m tettys potato

tava touch

tavas m tavosow tongue; language

tavern m tavernyow pub

taw silence

Taw dhe’n flows! phr Don’t talk nonsense!

tawesek adj silent

taxy m taxiow taxi

Te name of letter T

te personal pron you


tebel-(2) pref bad, evil

tebel-dhyweth sticky end

tebeles pl bad guys

tecter beauty

tedha melt

tednva tension, stress

tednvos attraction

teg adj beautiful, pretty

teg adv very, really

tejy personal pron you (emphatic)

teknegyl adj technical

teknologieth technology

teknyk m teknygow technique

tell2 conj that

tenewen m tenwednow flank, side

ter2 See tell2

tereba prep until

tergweyth adv three times

term m termow (technical) term

termyn m termynyow time; (academic) term See also an present termyn

termynologieth terminology

ternos adv next day

ternos vyttyn phr next / tomorrow morning

terrys adj broken

tesen f tesednow cake

testen f testednow subject, topic

testscrif m testscrîvyow certificate

tesyans warming

tevy grow

tevyans growth

tevysak adj/m tevysogyon grown up, adult

tew adj thick; fat

tewas col sand (as material)

tewel fall silent

tewlder dark[ness]

Tewyn Plustry Newquay

text m textow text (all senses)

teyl manure

teylek f teylegow manure heap

teylu m teyluyow family

teythiak adj indigenous, traditional; idiomatic

teythy col attributes, essence

teyr3 num three (with feminine noun)

’th possessive pron your singular

’th infixed pron you; to you

th’ See yth

therapydhes f therapydhesow female therapist

tiak m tiogow farmer

tiegeth m tiegedhow household

tioges f tiogesow female farmer

tir land See also an Tir Uhel

tîtel m tîtlys title

to bian See aken grobm

tobm adj warm, hot

tobma heat, warm up

todn f todnow wave


tôkyn m tôknys ticket

toll f tollow toll; tax

tomals quant ample amount

toos dough

top m topyow top

tormont m tormontys torment, torture

torn m tornow time, occasion See also i’n tor’-ma, i’n tor’-na

torr f torrow belly

torrva breakdown

tosa knead, massage

tosans massage

toth speed

toth men phr quickly (emphatic)

toul m toulys tool

tour m tourow tower

touryst m tourystyon tourist

towal m towellow towel

towan m tewednow sand dune

towl m towlow throw; plan

towledna plan, schedule

tôwlel throw

tôwlel towl phr make a plan

towlen f towlednow plan; program(me)

tr’ See tell2

tra neuter thing, stuff

tra vëth pron anything; nothing (when negative implied)

tradycyonal adj traditional

trafyk traffic

trailva f trailvaow transition

trailya turn; translate

trailyans m trailyansow turning; translation

train m trainow train

trainow munys pl model railway(s)

tramor adj overseas

traweythyow adv sometimes, occasionally

tre adj home

tre adv home; back

tre f trevow town

trebuchya stumble

tredanek adj electric

tredh See inter

tredhegves num thirteenth

tredhek num thirteen

trega See triga

tregas stay (in a place)

tregh m trehow slice

tregor m tregoryon resident

tregys See trigys

trehy cut

tremenyades f tremenyadesow female passenger

tremenyas m tremenysy passenger

tremenys adj deceased

tremil num three thousand

trenk adj sour

tresour m tresours treasure

tressa num third

trest m trust

treth m trethow sand; (sandy) beach

Treth Fystral Fistral Beach

trettya tread

treusperthy transfer

treuspren m treusprednyer crossbar

treusva f treusvaow crossing

treveth m & f time, occasion

trevna organize

trial m trials trial

triga dwell, stay

trigva f trigvaow address

trigys adj resident (in a place)

trist adj sad

tro f troyow turn; time, occasion See also an dro-ma

tro ha prep towards

tro hag See tro ha

tro vian f troyow bian excursion

trobel trouble

Trobel taw! phr Don’t worry!

trobla trouble

troblus adj troublesome

trog an carr phr the car boot

trog dyllas m trogow suitcase

trog tedna m trogow drawer

troos f treys foot

tros noise

trouvya discover, find

troyll f troyllyow whirl

truan adj poor (to be pitied)

trûlergh m trûlerhow path

Trûrû Truro

trùssa pack

try3 num three

tryhans num three hundred

trylyon m trylyons trillion

trynsys trinity

tu m tuyow side See also a’n tu’vês

tùch (light) touch, tap; moment (very short duration, not point in time)

tùch quant a little

tùch tê phr tea break

tùchyng prep about, concerning

tùll deceit; disappointment

tùlla cheat, deceive; disappoint

tùrnypen f tùrnypednow swede

tûtû m tûtûs tutu

ty See te

tyby think (an idea)

tybyans idea

tyckly adj tricky, awkward

tylda m tyldys awning; gazebo (at public event)

tyller m tyleryow place

tyly pay; should, ought to

tyly ow tendyl phr pay as you earn (PAYE)

tysk m & f tyscow handful (literally or figuratively)

Û name of letter U

udn(2) num one (with noun); even (with noun, reinforcing a negative) See also in udn

udn jëdh See dëdh

udnek num eleven

udnyk See yn udnyk

udnya unite

ufern m ufernyow ankle

ugans num twenty

ugansves num twentieth

ugh-(2) pref high, super, hyper, etc

ughboynt m ughboyntys maximum

ugh-clojiores f ugh-clojioresow sister (senior nurse)

uhel adj high; loud See also an Tir Uhel, yn uhel

ùnderstondya understand

ùnderstondyng understanding

unegves num eleventh

ùnpossybyl adj impossible

unsel See yn unsel

unverhe v agree unanimously

unweyth adv once; only (reinforcing ‘if’ or a negative)

unweyth arta phr [once] again

unyêthek adj monoglot

ûnyversyta f ûnyversytas university

ûsadow custom

uskys adj quick

ûsya use

uthyk adj dreadful, terrible

uthyk tra phr a lot

uvel adj humble

valew m valewys value

vas adj useful

Ve name of letter V

vell See avell

versyon m versyons version

very attributive adj preceding noun very

very nebes phr very little

vëth adj/adv any (in negative sentence); even (after comparative)

viaj m viajys journey, trip

viajya travel

vil adj vile

vlòg m vloggys video blog (‘vlog’)

vôtya vote

voward vanguard

voydya avoid

voys m voycys voice

vu m vuys view

vysytya visit

vysytyor m vysytyoryon visitor

vytamyn m vytamynow vitamin

vytel col food

‘w3 See ow3

war adj wary, cautious

wàr2 prep on; on to

wàr an eyl tenewen phr on the one hand

wàr an eyl tu phr on the one hand

wàr an tenewen aral phr on the other hand

wàr an tu aral phr on the other hand

wàr anow phr oral

wàr bedn dêwlin phr kneeling

wàr neb cor phr in any way, at all (with negative)

wàr rag phr forwards

warbarth adv together

warbydn prep against

wardhegor m wardhegoryon teenager

warleny adv last year

warlergh prep after

warlergh ûsadow phr as usual, usually

warra See awartha

warrantus adj authentic

We name of letter W

wèl interj well

west adj/m west

whans m whansow wish, desire

whansa wish, desire

whar adj humane; civilized

wharvedhyans m wharvedhyansow event

wharvos happen, take place

whath adv still; even (before comparative)

whe num six

whedhel m whedhlow story

whedn col whednen weeds

wheffes num sixth

wheffesor m wheffesoryon sixth former

wheg adj sweet

whegen f whegednow edible sweet; darling

whegh See whe

whej ha skit phr gastro-enteritis

whel m whelyow work

whelas See whilas

whêldro f whêldroyow revolution

whêlva laboratory

wherthyn laugh

wherthyn nerth y bedn phr roar with laughter

whêtegves num sixteenth

whêtek num sixteen

whetha blow; puff up, inflate

whilas seek, look for; try to

whor f wheryth sister

why personal pron you (plural or stranger)

whybonel f whybonellow flute

whyst interj hush

whythra explore, research, investigate

whythrans m whythransow exploration, research, investigation

whythror m whythroryon explorer, researcher

whywhy personal pron you (plural or stranger) (emphatic)

wolcùbma welcome

wolcùm adj welcome

Wordhen Ireland

wordhy adj worthy

worteweth adv at last

worth See orth

wor’tu ha prep towards

wor’tu hag See wor’tu ha

wosa prep after

wostallath adv at first

y5 part affirmative statement particle

y personal pron they

y2 possessive pron his, its (masculine); him, it (masculine) (direct object of verb-noun)

‘y2 See y2

‘y3 See hy2

yagh adj well (referring to health)

yahus adj healthy (good for health)

yar f yer hen, chicken

Ye name of letter Y

yêhes health

yêhes ha sawder phr health and safety

yet m yettys gate

yêth f yêthow language

yêyn adj cool, cold

yêyner m yêyneryow refrigerator

yn5 part forming adverb from adjective

yn fen adv vigorously

yn scon adv soon

yn tefry adv really, seriously

yn tien adv entirely, totally, completely

yn udnyk adv uniquely; only

yn uhel phr loudly; aloud

yn unsel adv only (reinforcing saw)

ynsy personal pron they, them (emphatic)

yogùrt yoghurt

yos purée

yowynkes youth

ÿs wheg col ÿsen sweetcorn

ÿst adj/m east

yth See y5

ytho adv [and] so, therefore

Zed name of letter Z

zyp m zyppys zip